Health care de­bate hasn’t dulled Trump’s in­stincts

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY CHARLES HURT Charles Hurt can be reached at churt@wash­ing­ton­ and on Twit­ter, @charleshurt.

Even amid the cos­mic chaos that is this White House, Pres­i­dent Trump main­tains the laser fo­cus of his wickedly sharp po­lit­i­cal in­stincts. Watch­ing the wreck­age in Congress as Repub­li­cans com­mit po­lit­i­cal self-im­mo­la­tion over their in­abil­ity to put Oba­macare out of its mis­ery, Mr. Trump shared peo­ple’s in­credulity over the in­com­pe­tence and rage over the in­jus­tice.

With a sim­ple tweet, Mr. Trump fired a shot over Congress’ bow more spec­tac­u­lar — even if largely missed by the pub­lic — than any­thing Kim Jong-un could ever dream up in his most fan­tas­tic dic­ta­to­rial dreams.

“If Oba­macare is hurt­ing peo­ple, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies & why should Congress not be pay­ing what the pub­lic pays?” Pres­i­dent Trump mused to his 34.9 mil­lion Twit­ter fol­low­ers.

First, this was a stark warn­ing to both par­ties against any ef­fort to bail out in­sur­ance com­pa­nies.

I know, it sounds in­sanely ridicu­lous. But with this crowd, any­thing is pos­si­ble. You have to ex­plain ev­ery­thing to th­ese peo­ple and say it veer­rrrrrry slowwwwwwwly so they can keep up.

But it was the sec­ond, more sub­tle, threat that has the po­ten­tial to be a real game-changer in the whole de­bate over Oba­macare.

Why should Congress not be pay­ing what the pub­lic pays, Mr. Trump won­dered.

It is a very good ques­tion and could have dev­as­tat­ing im­pli­ca­tions for the Klep­to­crats in both par­ties who ei­ther gave us Oba­macare in the first place or promised for seven years to kill it but are sud­denly now afraid to do just that.

When Democrats in Congress first passed Oba­macare, they may not have read the leg­is­la­tion, but they sure knew they didn’t want to have any­thing to do with it per­son­ally.

So, with help from Pres­i­dent Obama’s Of­fice of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment, the law was crafted to pro­vide huge loop­holes to ex­empt many con­gres­sional staffers from Oba­macare’s man­dates.

Even more stun­ningly, the law al­lows for mem­bers of Congress and all staffers en­rolled in Oba­macare to be re­im­bursed by their em­ployer for up to 75 per­cent of the pre­mi­ums they pay. Un­der the law, no other em­ploy­ers are al­lowed to re­im­burse em­ploy­ees for Oba­macare pre­mi­ums.

And yes, that would be you, the in­no­cent tax­payer who is that one lucky em­ployer re­im­burs­ing th­ese goons for their Oba­macare.

Mr. Trump has now put them on no­tice. But he should go a step fur­ther and issue an ex­ec­u­tive or­der re­vers­ing his Of­fice of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment’s de­ci­sion to pro­vide th­ese loop­holes.

Mr. Trump should in­vite all of Congress to the White House for a press con­fer­ence and un­veil his ex­ec­u­tive or­der and look every one of them in the eye and tell them that un­til they re­peal Oba­macare, every sin­gle mem­ber of Congress and every staffer on Capi­tol Hill will be forced into the rick­ety ex­changes that are col­laps­ing across the coun­try. And pay full freight just like the rest of us.

It would be a spec­tac­u­lar pub­lic re­la­tions win for the pres­i­dent, hu­mil­i­ate Congress, high­light the hypocrisy of the Democrats who gave us Oba­macare and force Repub­li­cans to fi­nally re­peal the whole stupid law.

But there is an­other ad­van­tage. The whole rea­son th­ese loop­holes were cre­ated in the first place is that so many con­gres­sional staffers threat­ened to quit if they got forced into the very Oba­macare ex­changes they helped cre­ate for the rest of Amer­i­cans.

Hope­fully, they will make good on those threats. Talk about drain­ing the swamp.

And while Mr. Trump is at it, he could take an­other, even bolder, step to­ward drain­ing the swamp.

He could issue an­other ex­ec­u­tive or­der re­quir­ing every sin­gle fed­eral em­ployee in the coun­try to en­roll in Oba­macare.

The le­gal and leg­isla­tive fall­out from such an ex­ec­u­tive or­der would be nu­clear. But, se­ri­ously, if Oba­macare is such a great deal, why shouldn’t fed­eral em­ploy­ees get in on the fun?

Of course, the fed­eral em­ployee unions — an arm of the Demo­cratic Party — would com­pletely flip out to keep from get­ting kicked out of their lush health care plans (which you pay for) and dumped into the bar­ren shelves of Oba­macare.

If we are lucky, this, too, might lead to a mass ex­o­dus of bu­reau­crats. That would keep yet an­other Trump prom­ise to stream­line the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Best of all would be lis­ten­ing to Demo­cratic law­mak­ers hem­ming and haw­ing about all the rea­sons why their fed­eral em­ployee voter base should be ex­empt from the great health care law they gave the rest of us.

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