What’s the difference between the Republican caucus, in particular the Tea Party, and the Hindenburg? One is a flaming gasbag full of hot air and the other is a dirigible. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is like the Hindenburg, except it’s fire-proof. After doing their utmost to undermine Obamacare, it’s time the Republican caucus ratchet in their rebellious step sister, the Tea Party, and work towards constructive Obamacare reforms.
While the debt ceiling played a significant role in the shutdown, the looming roll out of Obamacare was the primary catalyst for this latest congressional debacle. House Republicans, who did not have the votes to repeal Obamacare through the processes of democracy, closed the federal government in hopes that the Senate and the President would accede to their demands.
I appreciate Geoffrey R. Stone’s article, in which he puts this “undemocratic” behavior in perspective. Since 2008, the Republicans, especially the Tea Party, have tried to kill or repeal Obamacare every step of the way. They have tried to do this politically, judicially, electorally, and most recently with a government shutdown.
- Politically: they lost every time they tried to repeal Obamacare through the legislative process. As of September 20th, 2013, there were 42 votes to repeal Obamacare.
- Judicially: they lost in the Supreme Court when they challenged the constitutionality of the law.
- Electorally: they failed politically with the electorate when they were defeated in the 2012 election. Stone’s states that “the only reason House Republicans can play this cruel and criminal game at all is because they gerrymandered congressional districts to enable them to control the House even though they were defeated by the Democrats in the national popular vote for Congress.”
- Shutdown: 16 days and all but nothing to show for it. Republicans got a glorified olive branch involving a slight tightening of income verification rules for Americans accessing new health insurance exchanges created by Obamacare.
While the administration is responsible for the technological problems associated with the roll out, there is little doubt that the odds for success would have been greater if Obamacare would have received the funding it needed for such a complex system, if it had not had to handle insurance exchanges in so many states that refused to build their own and, of course, the larger fact that the administration went with such a complex approach to expanding coverage because of the political and industry opposition to the far simpler solution of Medicare-for-all single payer coverage.