Republicans at odds as 'Obamacare' showdown nears

Senator vows to do "everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare."
Associated Press
Sep 20, 2013

Congressional Republicans struggled to tamp down a family feud Thursday as they approached a politically charged showdown with the White House that combines the threat of a government shutdown, a possible first-ever federal default and the GOP's bid to repeal the nation's three-year-old health care law.

One day after conceding that the Democratic-controlled Senate probably would prevail on the last part, Sen. Ted Cruz still vowed to do "everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare." That includes a possible filibuster of legislation to prevent a partial government shutdown, added the Texas Republican.

That was a step further than Sen. Mike Lee of Utah — Cruz's partner in a summertime run of "Defund Obamacare" television commercials — was willing to go. President Barack Obama's health care law "is not worth causing a shutdown over," he said.

The two men spoke at a news conference with several House Republicans where lawmakers stressed they were unified and thanked Speaker John Boehner for agreeing to tie the anti-shutdown and anti-Obamacare provisions into one bill.

That bill is on track for House passage on Friday, with a Senate showdown to follow.

The House intends to move quickly next week with a separate bill to put the health care law on ice, this one a measure that also would allow the Treasury to avoid a default that could destabilize the economy.

Boehner himself sought to redirect the political fire at Obama, accusing him of being ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Syria but not engage with Republicans on raising the nation's debt limit, an issue that could lead to national default.

But he also got in a subtle jab at Cruz and Senate conservatives who have been clamoring for weeks for a showdown on the health care law.

"I expect my Senate colleagues to be up for the battle," he said.

The prospect is for a 10-day period of intense uncertainty, with Boehner pledging to avoid a shutdown yet also hoping to come away with a bite out of the health care law, even if less than complete defunding.

Congressional aides pointed out during the day, for example, that if the Senate rewrites the House-passed bill to leave the health care law in place, Boehner and the rest of the House leadership could still seek further changes before passing it a second time.

For their part, the White House and majority Democrats in the Senate will be trying to protect the health care law that stands as Obama's signature domestic accomplishment — without complicating the re-election chances of senators on the 2014 ballot in swing states.

The White House intruded briefly on the Republican feud, pledging that Obama would veto any legislation that blocks the health care law from taking full effect. The defunding drive "advances a narrow ideological agenda that threatens our economy and the interests of the middle class" and would deny "millions of hard-working, middle-class families the security of affordable health coverage," it said.

The effort seeking virtual repeal of the law as part of a government funding bill gained powerful momentum over the summer when the Senate Conservatives Fund, Heritage Action and other groups with tea party ties launched a nationwide campaign.

Cruz and Lee played prominent roles, each appearing in television ads aimed at pressuring Republican lawmakers not to yield. "Republicans in Congress can stop Obamacare if they simply refuse to fund it," Lee says in one SCF-funded commercial.

On the other hand, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has urged Republicans to fund the government and prevent a default, then double back and try and work out changes to the health care law later.

In a tea party age, it is unclear how much political clout establishment groups carry with individual GOP lawmakers.

At the same time, many Republicans fear a replay of twin government shutdowns nearly two decades ago that inflicted significant damage on their party and helped resurrect then-President Bill Clinton's political fortunes.

"When it comes to shutting the government down, that is not going to succeed because people don't want a government shutdown. And they'll blame Congress. They did before," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Another Republican, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, agreed. "I'm one who doesn't believe that a shutdown does anything except divert attention from a president and his policies, which are rightfully unpopular, to congressional incompetence," he said.

Cruz saw it differently hours earlier.

He told the National Automobile Dealers Association that the 1995-96 episode was just a "partial, temporary government shutdown" that didn't hurt Republicans politically as much as most people think and that it helped bring welfare reform in 1996 and a budget deal in 1997.

"Nobody likes that outcome. But it also wasn't the end of the world," he said of a possible shutdown.

Ironically, it was a Cruz comment that ignited anger among House conservatives on Wednesday evening.

As word spread that the House would pass legislation to fund the government and cut off money for the health care law, he issued a statement that said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "likely has the votes" to delete the health care provision. "At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people," he said.

House Republican aides said rank-and-file lawmakers on the House floor at the time vented their anger at what appeared to be a pre-emptive surrender.

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., tweeted that Lee and Cruz "refuse to fight. Wave white flag and surrender."

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., tweeted, "Senate R's already declare defeat... before the battle even begins. So much for standing up for the American people."

 

Comments

Informed

So then how can you blame Obamacare for your self-funded trust for dental benefits doing something that is not mandated under ACA?

Darwin's choice

House defunds Obamacare......!!!

Now Obama will say "the republicans shut down the government because they didn't do what I wanted.

Wait for it.......

Darwin's choice

This is hysterical!!!!! And fitting!!!!

http://www.political-humor.org/t...

The "PILLAGE PEOPLE" !!

OSUBuckeye59

I was torn when the ACA was passed. On the one hand it was great to finally have the federal government pass legislation that would provide healthcare for all Americans, but on the other I thought the insurance companies once again won out and would find enough loopholes to increase rates.

I would agree with the GOP wanting to defund Obamacare *IF* they had an alternative plan to offer. But they don't. And they aren't offering one. They're only continuing to point out all the supposed flaws in the ACA. At work I've had employees in the past who thought they were doing a great job when they brought problems to my attention, but after each one would point out a problem, my first response was always the same, "What is your proposed solution to address/correct it? If you bring a problem to my attention, you almost must bring potential solutions. And telling me I need to fix whatever problem you've highlighted is not a potential solution." And that's what I would like to see from the GOP. Proposed solutions/alternatives to Obamacare that helps insure coverage for all Americans.

Contango

Re: "Proposed solutions/alternatives to Obamacare that helps insure coverage for all Americans."

NUMEROUS alternatives have been proposed, i.e., creating a funded pool for the uninsured, allowing insurers to sell healthcare plans across state lines, et. al.

But the command-and-control socialists are so hell bent on their road to the nationalization of healthcare that they won't listen to any free market ideas.

Instead of focusing on the problem of getting the uninsured healthcare, (isn't that what Medicaid is for?), the socialists instead upend the entire system causing socio-economic chaos.

Why are the unions now against it if it's so great?

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/08/05/w...

Remember: Coverage does not equal care.

In business, there are three factors:

Price,
Quality &
Service.

Pick two, because it's economically impossible to have all three. Supthin's gotta give.

anthras

Obama stated that Obamacare would not add 1 single dime to the deficit however I see that many persons will have their premiums subsidized to allow them to pay lower premiums. Who is going to pay the subsidy so that it will not increase the deficit????????????

Contango

Re: "Who is going to pay the subsidy so that it will not increase the deficit?"

The Federal Reserve already has almost $4T on their balance sheet due in part from buying U.S. Treasuries.

What possible harm can there be in buying a few trillion more?

I mean, h*ll, the Fed can just "print" money outa thin air and give it to the govt through their primary dealers like Goldman Sachs.

List of primary dealers:

http://www.newyorkfed.org/market...

Warren Buffett: “The Fed is the greatest hedge fund in history,”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/20...

Hedge funds never go bust do they? :)

kURTje

Those on SSI, give it up to avoid this dilemma. okej

Dr. Information

Im sure the people on SSI would rather have all that they have paid in back in one lump sum. SSI will face major issues in 15-20 years when the money starts reaching the bottom of the bucket.

I know, I know, Im old and 15-20 years is so far away and will never get here but believe me it will be here before we all know it. It will be the big issue during that election time.

OSUBuckeye59

As I shared previously, even though I'm for a National Healthcare system, I didn't like the tenets of Obamacare. Even though I figured whatever system our government approved would still be a money-maker for the insurance companies, not implementing a single-payer system I thought would really tip the scales towards the providers still being able to rake in the profits. And evidenced by people writing about the notices they received from their insurance providers detailing the changes for each provider to comply with the ACA, it unfortunately looks like my fears have been realized:

"With ACA, the new plan increases my wife and my total monthly premium from $494 to $965, our co-pay increases from 30% to 50%, and our previous 4 Dr visits/year at $35 each are eliminated along with several other no-deductible benefits."

"My new Regency policy premium increased by 80%, the lowest deductible offered is $5000, the coverage paid by Regency for using preferred providers is reduced from 70% to 50%, and my co-pay visit cost increased from $35 to $60."

"Summary of the new coverage for my wife and I as a result of the ACA: We do not save money; our current doctor is not in the new network; we get pregnancy care, mental health, alcohol and drug dependency treatment, none of which we need or want; and we aren't eligible for the subsidized plans as our combined income is just over the limit."

"We just got a letter from our insurance company specifying the changes necessary for my carrier to comply with the ACA: our total family premium has doubled, our annual out-of-pocket maximums have dramatically increased, and a few in our family may have to change primary care physicians."

I can understand the GOP wanting to defund the ACA, but what happens if hell froze over and they were able to make it happen? How would the insurance companies unravel everything put in place to comply with the ACA? Would they simply continue with current rates? I don't know that it's that simple to hit the "Undo" command.

grumpy

You are now having to live with the consequences of the election in 2008, when democrats got a supermajority in the senate, a majority in the house, and the president. There was no need for them to compromise with anyone, not one vote from a repube was had for obamacare to pass. It is what happens when there is one party rule.Last time it was this way was under Carter.

As to how to fix it? The public got rid of Carter after one term, they weren't as smart this time around. Remember this when voting the next time around. One party rule sucks.

The insurance companies would be able to make the switch in a couple of weeks. They have the incentive to do so. But first obamacare would have to be defunded or voted out.

OSUBuckeye59

We are all having to live with the consequences of the 2008 election. I voted for Obama in '04 and in '08 voted for a Republican by the name of Ron Paul by writing in his name.

The insurance companies have planned for having to implement the ACA, and I would guess have spent probably millions in getting ready. I really wonder what their incentive would be to make the switch given what they've already invested. Maybe I'm being too dense here, but seriously, I see a disincentive to not implementing the ACA as I expect insurers to figure out a way to recover costs spent getting ready to be compliant with the ACA.

Contango

Re: "Ron Paul,"

How can you reconcile voting for Dr. Paul and being a proponent of so☭ialized medicine?

In presidential elections, I've voted Libertarian since '92.

BTW: Many large insurers are opting out of the health care exchanges.

http://www.californiahealthline....

OSUBuckeye59

Guess I'm just an odd Duck. I liked a lot of what Ron Paul stood for but still wanted to see implementation of a National Health Care System. Ever titling at windmills, I was hoping both parties would get it right, or at least close. Stupid me.

Contango

Re: "I'm for a National Healthcare system,"

It'll create the largest employer in the world with a huge unwieldy bureaucracy.

Rather than force a one size fits all monstrosity on 314 million diverse Americans, allow those of us who wish to find other more free market means to OPT OUT.

OSUBuckeye59

Provide for opt out? I could not agree more. But even *IF* this provision was provided, I still think the insurance companies would've decided to increase rates anyway to hedge their risks, to the point where "Opt Out" wouldn't matter to them in terms of their soaking insurers anyway.

Contango

Re: "their soaking insurers anyway."

Did you mean to write "insureds"?

It's not a matter of "soaking."

Competition leads to pricing differences; see the auto, life and property insurance markets. There are numerous insurers with wide differences in coverage and benefits.

Regardless of what the politicians may think, market forces not politics ultimately control insurance rates.

H*ll, give my spouse and I back what we paid into SS (without interest) and I'd be happy.

On a gross basis, my personally directed investment portfolio is yielding 8% YTD. I can do better than the govt.

OSUBuckeye59

I did mean to write "insureds". Thank you for the correction.

Tis true that competition does lead to pricing differences. Tough part is the unpleasant surprise folks are getting today in terms of how their plans are going to dramatically change in terms of much higher costs with reduced benefits should the ACA indeed go live next year.

I, too would love to get back what the missus and I paid into SS, and yes, I'd even settle for just what I contributed. Problem is what the 4 of us have paid has either already been spent or earmarked to pay other debt our government continues to run up.

It's so frustrating to read the current administration putting on the happy face by loudly proclaiming how deficit spending continues to decrease while conveniently leaving out the fact our federal debt continues to climb like kudzu.

Informed

Competition often does not lead to pricing differences. Many companies are in cahoots to keep all prices similar (i.e. the baby formula scandal of past that got little press). If competition leads to such drastic price differences and reduces costs, why doesn't that work for gasoline? All stations in a given area usually charge about the same, give or take a penny or two.

Contango

Re: "Competition often does not lead to pricing differences."

So all auto, life and property insurance cos. charge the same premiums?

You do know that gas station make about 3¢/gal. don't you?

Stations make their money on pop, cigs, lottery tickets, et. al.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fu...

registerer

"'Family glitch' in health law could be painful".."WASHINGTON — A so-called "family glitch" in the 2010 health care law threatens to cost some families thousands of dollars in health insurance costs and leave up to 500,000 children without coverage, insurance and health care analysts say.."....(usatoday 9-23-2013)..

Well what did they expect using the democrap theory of "passing it now and reading it later". My hope is that this burns all of the democraps that need this coverage and then we can listen to them whine about how they are getting screwed!

Contango

Nancy Pelosi, 3/9/10:

"But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,"

It's starting to look more like:

We'll have to puke, plus have a case of the sh*ts to find out what we ate.

Dr. Information

I have an easy fix. How about EVERYONE in America has to pay taxes. No more returns in April, no more write offs. Everyone pays no matter what you make and you get nothing back in the form of a check. Tax everyone at 15-18%....no exceptions.

Contango

"ObamaCare Mandate: 301 Employers Cut Hours, Jobs":

"More than 300 employers have cut work hours or jobs, or otherwise shifted away from full-time staff, to limit liability under ObamaCare, according to a newly updated IBD analysis."

http://news.investors.com/politi...

EZOB

What is really sad is the fact that so many people can't understand the costs related to O'Bama Care. The Middle Class (What's left of us) are going to really suffer. The only way out that I can see is to sell everything I own and go to cash. So many things people are over-looking that I have read in the bill. This is going to cause a major revolt the likes government knows is coming. Just ask yourself why they are so intent on getting everyones weapons. Call me a radical now but by March of 2015 or 2016 when you really start bleeding You'll realize the truth of what it is really costing and 75% of Americans won't be able to afford anything, much less Health Care.

Dr. Information

EZOB-You sir are correct. It will really hurt folks like me and you in the middle class. Major overhauls always do. What I don't understand is how the left just doesn't get it. Not every company cutting hours preparing for Obamacare is greedy. Fact is the majority are doing so to stay out of the red. If you cannot stay out of the red, your business goes under which leads to more unemployment, welfare, etc.

Take my friend (real life scenario) who runs a small company of 55 workers. Their team has went through all the pages of Obamacare and realized that it will cost their small company nearly 10 million dollars more over the next 8-10 years. Their profit margin each year is roughly 750K-1.5million depending on the year they have sales wise. His response was that with Obamacare, we cannot grow or hire anyone new if we become busier because we will no longer have the nest egg of cash to do so. They called everyone in and told them that they will no longer be offering insurance, gave them all a detailed sheet of why, informed them they would compensate their hourly rate they best that they could and that they planned on just paying the yearly penalty which will save them a ton of money.

Now some call this greed but its not. Its called business and trying to stay afloat.

EZOB

Dr. Information,
The SR is really, really lacking news output on this story. You'd have thought by now some "Local" reporter would have done the research and provided "SR Readers" with a fact filled story on how and when these costs go into effect. I know many don't believe you and Me but I have been in meetings in Washington D.C. and have personally read many things that are in the Bill and the page numbers. I'd like for everyone to stop and use "Common Sense", here goes! When anyone tells You that you are about to receive anything for "FREE" you best beware. There isn't a better example that I can give than the "O'Bama Health Care Bill".

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