Heller wants to get rid of Obamacare "exemption," but won't say whether he will opt out

Sen. Dean Heller has sent out news releases and given speeches about erasing the special "exemption" senators, congressmen and their aides have in Obamacare, but his office refuses to say whether Nevada's junior staff and his staff will opt out once enrollment opens next month.

Indeed, Team Heller has gone to great lengths to avoid answering the question.

After Heller gave yet another speech this week about the "exemption," I emailed his press secretary, Chandler Smith, and asked:

I saw the senator's speech reiterating his stance on the so-called "exemption" for Obamacare.
Of course he and his staff can opt out, right? That is, choose not to take the federal employee contribution. Will he and they?
And before Obamacare, didn't fed employees have a contribution from the government for their health care? What's the difference? Most people do.
Twenty-four hours passed. Nothing.
I emailed Smith again and copied Heller Chief of Staff Mac Abrams. Again, nothing.
So I called Heller's office and asked if Smith was in. Yes, I was told, by a friendly office assistant, who told me to hold. And I did, for quite some time, before he came back on and told me he was having trouble transferring me. He nicely gave me Smith's direct line. I called and, shockingly, got voice mail. I left a detailed message.
And guess what?
That was Thursday.
It's not hard to figure out why the dodge. As Salon's Brian Beutler, in an excellent piece that explained why the "exemption" isn't really an exemption, wrote:
And that’s why when open enrollment begins on Oct. 1, it will test their sincerity. If conservatives genuinely believe that Obamacare is a threat to the country they will extend their campaigns to convince people to skip Obamacare from nameless powerless young people to elected officials and their aides. And if those members and aides have the courage of their convictions they’ll follow suit. To the extent that none of this happens — that conservative groups keep quiet, and conservative members and aides enroll in the exchanges — it’ll expose the right’s anti-Obamacare activism as a shallow enterprise undertaken by people who are happy to see millions go without insurance, so long as it’s not themselves or their families.
As one Democratic insider told me about the amendment proposed by Lousiana's David Vitter and backed by Heller: He doesn't "need an amendment to pass. He is able to decline the federal government’s employer contribution to himself effective immediately. He can even encourage his staff to do the same. But the hypocrisy comes in since Heller, Vitter et all have happily allowed the federal government to pay for a portion of his health insurance since they've been in Congress."
This kind of gambit is hardly a surprise from someone who thinks "No Budget No Pay" is policy. And his silence on whether he will back up his stunt with action is all too telling.