Report: Lawmakers quietly pushing for their own Obamacare exemption

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been quietly negotiating behind the scenes to exempt themselves and their staffs from the insurance exchanges in Obamacare, according to one report.

Politico reported Thursday that both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have been involved in the talks over the issue.

The outlet called the discussions “extraordinarily sensitive” and said “both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides.”

But a spokesman for Boehner told The Daily Caller on Thursday that the Speaker would not support any sort of exemption, despite the desire for it by certain Democrats.

“The Speaker would like to see resolution of this problem, along with the other nightmares created by Washington Democrats’ health law, which is why he supports full repeal,” spokesman Michael Steel said in an email. “In the meantime, it is Democrats’ problem to solve.

Steel added: “He will not sneak any language into bills to solve it for them – and the Democratic leadership knows that.”

Politico sums up the reason why legislators want the exemption: “The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — in this case, the federal government. If not, aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere. Older, more senior staffers could also retire or jump to the private sector rather than face a big financial penalty.”

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