There are worse things than Obamacare.
Republicans in the U.S. House have invited them upon our nation by persisting in a tactic that already has failed and has no chance of success.
After 70-plus failed votes to defund, eliminate or restrict implementation of the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans have resorted to extorting our National Guard, defense department civilians, national park visitors, low-income preschool children and many, many more Americans.
Thousands of Arsenal employees are being sent home, not because our nation has insufficient funds, or no longer needs their defense logistics. They’re being indefinitely furloughed so House Republicans can persist with their same failed tactic.
For a decade, Iowa and Illinois National Guard troops proved essential to our war on terror. Now they’re being sent home. House Republicans chose a tactic that simply dismissed their service.
Investors and home buyers yearn for stable markets, influenced mainly by commerce. House Republicans chose a tactic they knew could sink the stock market and throw the entire housing market into a tailspin.
These grown-ups in the House knew full well what havoc their tactic would unleash on Americans. They did it anyway, all because they lacked the ability to govern the way our nation’s Founders intended. Ours is an imperfect system of compromise, where majority votes rule and nobody gets everything they want. House Republicans who believed in that system would have pursued different tactics.
Speaker John Boehner lamely attempted to pin the blame on the president. But President Obama, and the Senate Democrat majority did not pursue a tactic that shut down government. They are implementing a law approved by the full Congress.
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House Republicans could have – and still can – work with the Senate Democratic majority to reform the least popular and effective elements of the Affordable Care Act. Note that employer mandates already have been delayed by presidential order, not an act of Congress. But Republicans have abandoned compromise for one obvious reason: Many aspects of the ACA are very popular with voters.
A new Des Moines Register Iowa poll confirms that Iowans are split on their overall impressions of the ACA : 49 percent say it’s a bad idea; 45 percent say it’s OK, or is very good. Six percent are undecided. But when asked about primary components of Obamacare, Iowans seem to be big fans: 74 percent support coverage for all regardless of pre-existing conditions; 85 percent like the comparisons available through exchanges; 70 percent support keeping children on parents’ plans through age 26; 56 percent support lifting insurers caps on claims. Even the most onerous claim – the individual mandate – enjoys the support of 52 percent of Iowans.
Iowans more narrowly support the mandate on smaller employers and are evenly split on the overall concept of expanding coverage to more poor Americans. The House GOP goal calls for allowing insurers to deny coverage to cancer patients and others with pre-existing conditions. The House GOP goal would restore the benefit caps which deny healthcare to millions of Americans. House Republicans are intent on knocking young people off of their parents’ plans and blocking the affordable preventative care that is the cornerstone of the ACA.
We believe those outcomes, along with the strain on the stock market, job market and housing market, and the dangerous dismantling of defense preparation, are much, much worse than Obamacare.
Obamacare problems can be fixed by elected legislators looking out for Americans’ interests. The House Republican majority certainly may choose not to be part of a solution. Instead, they have undeniably and indefensibly chosen tactics they intended to hurt all Americans.