Rand Paul’s Obamacare Hypocrisy - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Rand Paul’s Obamacare Hypocrisy

In every speech he has made since announcing his presidential bid, Rand Paul has vowed to repeal Obamacare. At a Las Vegas rally he put it thus: “I will make it my mission to heal this nation… and to repeal every last bit of Obamacare!” But if Paul’s behavior in the Senate is any guide, this is empty rhetoric. Shortly after his Vegas speech, he aided the Democrats in obstructing an investigation into falsified documents submitted to the D.C. Small Business Exchange so that members of Congress and their staffers could receive subsidies to which they aren’t legally entitled.

The fraudulent filing fixed a problem our congressional representatives created for themselves when they passed Obamacare without reading it. After PPACA became law, they discovered that it didn’t allow employees of Congress to keep their health plans. As Michael Cannon explains in Forbes, “ACA prohibits members of Congress and their staffs from receiving health coverage through the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Program. They remained free to purchase health insurance on their own, but… without the $10,000 or so the federal government ‘contributed’ to their FEHBP premiums.”

At first, Congress simply ignored the law, with the tacit approval of the White House. But, when Obamacare’s exchanges were launched in 2014, an election year during which millions of voters were being herded into these “marketplaces,” our esteemed legislators felt the need to simulate compliance. Consequently, they and their aides enrolled through the D.C. Small Business Exchange. Because PPACA reserves small business exchanges for enterprises employing 50 or fewer workers, however, this required the submission of an application claiming that Congress employs only 45 people.

This claim was so brazenly fraudulent that it became the cause of action in Vining v. DC Health Benefit Exchange, filed by Judicial Watch after the watchdog group unearthed a redacted copy of the application. That document was brought to the attention of Senator David Vitter, chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, who wanted to subpoena the exchange for an undoctored copy revealing who falsified it. It soon thereafter became clear that Paul wouldn’t support Vitter, and eventually he did indeed vote with the committee’s Democrats to quash the subpoena.

That’s right. The great healer who pledges to cure the Obamacare contagion voted to protect the perpetrators of the scam. And, for a “maverick,” Paul comes out of this looking a lot like a typical Beltway backscratcher. National Review’s Brendan Bordelon writes that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was involved in pressuring other Republican members to join Paul in voting with the Democrats: “Senate staffers… reported seeing Missouri senator Roy Blunt make calls to at least two Republican committee members, lobbying them, at McConnell’s behest, to vote no on subpoenaing the exchange.”

In the end, this arm-twisting produced four additional “no” votes that provided cover for Senator Paul, and Chairman Vitter was not happy: “These applications contain blatantly false misrepresentations.… We need to know exactly how and why this was allowed to happen, so we can fix this injustice and eliminate Washington’s Obamacare Exemption. Washington insiders should be forced to live under Obamacare just like the rest of America.” This, ironically, is remarkably similar to comments the sanctimonious sawbones has himself made when speaking as a presidential candidate.

Why would Senator Paul, who has been described in this space as good for the GOP because he “could make independents and Democrats take a second look at a party where they have not felt welcome,” risk his credibility in such a dubious cause? And it is a very dubious cause. As Bordelon points out in his National Review piece, it was only after several secret meetings with John Boehner that “President Obama instructed the Office of Personnel Management to allow Congress to file for classification as a small business.” This is precisely the kind of skulduggery Senator Paul professes to abhor.

A president of whom Paul has been very critical has obviously made a backroom deal with the Beltway’s preeminent political insider to give Congress a special dispensation from the strictures of a much-reviled law that the good doctor has frequently characterized as unconstitutional. Nonetheless, when the chairman of a committee on which he serves attempts to get to the bottom of this chicanery, Senator Paul makes it his business to prevent the facts from coming to light. It is difficult to escape the impression that Paul or one of his masters in the Republican leadership has something to hide.

When Dr. Paul announced his intention to seek the presidency he said, “Too often when Republicans have won we have squandered our victory by becoming part of the Washington machine.” Well, when he voted on April 23 to quash Chairman Vitter’s subpoena and thus become a co-conspirator in the cover up of a self-serving arrangement made by members of Congress and their staffers, he made it obvious that he already is part of the machine. This man is a shameless hypocrite on Obamacare. Fortunately, this episode will probably kill any chance he had of becoming President.

David Catron
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David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
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