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Health Care Debate Hasn’t Dulled Trump’s Political Instincts

A Commentary by Charles Hurt

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

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.

• Charles Hurt can be reached at churt@washingtontimes.com and on Twitter, @charleshurt.

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