“In their third iteration of shutdown poker, House Republicans eagerly seized on a new approach: to demand the removal of all subsidies for members of Congress and their staffs for health insurance. They framed this as treating Congress just like other Americans. It is utter nonsense. Most Americans have health insurance through their employers, and the lion’s share of their insurance premiums are paid — tax free — by their employers. Nothing in the Affordable Care Act will change this. Members of Congress and their staff have traditionally been treated the same as other federal employees; they purchase insurance on the federal employees health insurance marketplace, with 72 percent of their premiums covered.
A capricious amendment to the Affordable Care Act offered by Senator Chuck Grassley, Read More…
State Rep. Julia Howard — who, in fairness, occasionally bucks the conservative establishment in the North Carolina GOP — had this to say during a legislative hearing at the General Assembly yesterday on unemployment insurance as she expressed her frustration with the McCrory administration’s failure to implement a legislative directive:
““It’s the law,” she said. “Unless you repeal the law, we should be compliant.”
Hopefully, Rep. Howard is communicating this sentiment to her fellow conservative Republicans in Washington as they hold the nation hostage over a duly enacted and constitutional law.
In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, check out this NPR interview with Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania in which the congressman places the blame for the federal government shut-down squarely on the shoulders of a group of fire-breathers in his own House Republican caucus. Dent, who opooses much of the Affordable Care Act but thinks it folly to shut down government over the matter, says that there would be an overwhelming bipartisan vote to end the shut-down and pass a clean government funding bill if only House Speaker John Boehner would bring such a proposal to the House floor.
in other words, the GOP congressman confirmed the truth of what President Obama has been saying repeatedly: the shut-down has been brought on by a small faction of far right ideologues who are holding the nation hostage.
Maybe it’s those handouts we are distributing in our community meetings around the state featuring a photo of a smiling Governor McCrory signing the bill earlier this year that sent back a $74 million grant to NC from the federal government for advertising and implementing effectively the Affordable Care Act in NC and rejecting $15 billion more in federal dollars for expanding Medicaid. Maybe it’s the fact that some NC hospitals are closing or laying off employees already because of the decision by McCrory and the General Assembly not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Maybe it’s the unending bad press the Governor is getting as a result of the blatant cronyism and incompetence at the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Or maybe its the overwhelming response today as NC’s health insurance exchanges open up and people with a history of cancer can finally afford health insurance along with 25 year olds who make $20,000 a year.
For whatever reason the Governor has decided to not continue his previous active resistance to the Affordable Care Act. He’s instructing parts of NC state government to cooperate with signing people up and even released this video statement today that directs people to the www.healthcare.gov website to sign up for coverage. I think he sees the politics of the Affordable Care Act as changing rapidly. He’s getting enormous pressure about the terrible decision not to expand Medicaid and he wants to shore up his crumbling reputation as a moderate. Who knows, this change of heart may indicate more willingness to expand Medicaid under the Act next year too. Stay tuned.
As this article at Talking Points Memo makes clear, Tea Partiers in Congress are playing with fire with their latest exercise in political hostage taking:
“Republicans in Washington insist they have simply been upholding the wishes of the American people throughout their efforts to block the Affordable Care Act, but a poll released Tuesday tells a very different story.
In fact, the latest survey from Quinnipiac University contains a ton of bad news for the GOP. For starters, 72 percent of Americans said they are opposed to shutting down the government in order to block implemntation of the health care law. A poll last week also showed a wide majority opposed to shutting down the government over Obamacare. Read More…