Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Obamacare unaffected by shutdown

Republicans in Congress miscalculated on their way to acquiescing in a federal government shutdown.

Failure to reach a budget has indeed halted non-essential government functions. But the object of the GOP’s scorn, the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — is exempt from the shutdown.

Surely they knew better, but why not mislead the public if you can get away with it?

It is a little-reported fact that “a shutdown per se doesn’t stop the Affordable Care Act,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office who now leads the American Action Forum, a Washington advocacy group opposed to the health law.

Bloomberg pointed out that the 2010 law relies primarily on mandatory spending, which congressional inaction can’t stop. It’s the same budget category used for benefits such as Medicare and Social Security.

Turns out the Democrats who passed the law had their thinking caps on by ensuring the funding.

Clearly, the Republicans knew the significance of the Oct. 1 effective date for the opening of Obamacare health exchanges throughout the country. They must be afraid that as the uninsured sign up for health insurance and see the price breaks they are getting, the law may suddenly gain in popularity.

Merits of the law aside, if they wanted so desperately to rescind it, they should have elected a Republican president and Congress last year. That’s the way we should be settling political disputes in this country — at the ballot box, not by the Congress reneging on its constitutional duties.

Perhaps lawmakers should be jailed for violating their oaths of office.

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