Sen. Mike Lee of Utah who is leading the effort, recently told Rush Limbaugh the reason Obamacare needs to die is because “people will like it.”
He’s right. People already like the Obamacare provisions enacted so far. Health insurers can no longer discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions, for example, and young Americans under the age of 26 can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans.
Come Oct. 1, Obamacare’s most important provision kicks in and that’s why tea party senators and their health insurance benefactors are apoplectic. When you discover you like the benefits, you’ll also realize you’ve been lied to by those who want to do away with Obamacare.
“(New York) state insurance regulators have approved rates for 2014 that are at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York. Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to shop for health insurance for as little as $308 monthly. With federal subsidies, the cost will be even lower,” reported the New York Times last month.
See, what’s not to like? New York State finance officials negotiated rates down on behalf of uninsured consumers when they set up their state-run exchange. Similar rate cuts have been achieved in California, Montana and Oregon.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration didn’t negotiate lower rates on behalf of the state’s 2 million uninsured, opting for an exchange operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. To no one’s surprise — except Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens — Georgia rates are higher than those New Yorkers will enjoy.
Nevertheless, Cindy Zeldon, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, believes there are still many good reasons for to enroll in one of the plans offered by the five insurers on the Georgia exchange.
Individuals and families will be able to purchase insurance on the exchange, regardless of whether they have a pre-existing condition. And families of three with annual incomes between of between $19,090 and $76,360 will receive tax credits that can be applied directly to the plan premiums at the time of enrollment.
Back in D.C., Lee and his tea party buddies in the Senate want to strip funding for Obamacare from the continuing resolution to pay for other government operations or shut down the government.
Cooler heads say it will be political suicide for Republicans if they are successful.
“I’ve seen the movie before; Congress never wins,” Sen. John McCain remarked, alluding to the failed government shutdowns orchestrated by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995 and 1996. “Most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans here in Washington.”
North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr was more candid: “I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” he said in an interview. “Listen, as long as Barack Obama is president the Affordable Care Act is going to be law. … Defunding the Affordable Care Act is not achievable through shutting down the federal government.”
Sen. Rubio countered with this gem: “I see it as Obama is threatening to shut down the government unless we fund Obamacare.”
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, a leading GOP voice, offered his inexperienced Florida colleague a pragmatic math lesson: “The only way you get rid of mandatory spending if you want to defund Obamacare is 67 votes because you got to override a presidential veto…if you want to make sure that the Democrats take control of the House, run that strategy.”
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.