So it has come down to the wire. The tea party controlled House of Representatives sent a "compromise" budget bill to the Senate. It didn't defund the Affordable Care Act, but would have delayed the start of the program for a year. In other words until the next budget needs to be passed. You don't have to be a genius to figure out as soon as the new year ends, the tea party mob would repeat the same ruthless act of extortion they are engaging in now. Senate democrats immediately knew this was a cheap, not to mention transparent, con and according to MSN they just rejected it.
These clowns just don't get it. Barak Obama ran on the promise of passing the ACA in 2008 and he won. He ran on the pledge of keeping it in 2012 and won convincingly a second time. The law passed both the house and the senate and was found constitutional by the Supreme Court. It isn't some debatable concept, or bill any more. It is the law of the land. Ladies and gentlemen of the right, either repeal it, or get over it. Just stop screwing with the pay checks of every active military man and woman and the jobs of upwards to 850,000 federal employees.
The most recent poll shows nearly six in ten Americans oppose defunding the ACA if it means having to shut down the government to do it. It is fairly easy to see why. Besides stiffing GI Joe and Jane, it is estimated nearly half of the civilians employed by the Department of the Defense will be furloughed. The FHA which is involved with 30% of all home mortgages in the country will be unable to approve any new ones and there won't be any more small business loans subsidized by the government.
Beyond the immediate economic impact, the Food and Drug Administration will have to suspend routine safety inspections, the Special Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children, other wise known as WIC will shut down, and there will be delays in processing new social security disability claims. The Center for Disease Control will also be hamstrung and their ability to identify and investigate outbreaks of diseases will be limited. Don't plan on that fall trip to Yellowstone either. All national parks, monuments, and the Smithsonian will close. If you're already camped at one you'll be given 48 hours to get out.
This is happening because all manner of right wing clods are running around screaming that the government is trying to take over the health care system here in the United States. They have bombarded the airwaves and their wide eyed followers with a campaign of disinformation and outright lies that is impressive in its scope and boldness. They don't even seem to care if supporters of the Affordable Care Act point out the falsehoods they are spewing. They just keep blathering away and when challenged the only thing that changes in their argument is the level of their volume control. It is as if they believe he who yells loudest and shrillest must be telling the truth. They are the equivalent of a child covering his or her ears and shrieking in order to avoid hearing something unpleasant, like a command to, " go brush your teeth."
The fact is well over 40 million people in the country don't have any health insurance at all. Three years ago the average American spent $8,233 per year on health care. In Norway, the Netherlands, and Switzerland the average citizen pays around $5,000 per year and everyone else in the other developed countries pay less. At this moment it is estimated 20% of all Americans have had, at one time or another, trouble paying their medical expenses. In the UK the figure is 2% and in France it is 9%. And, despite right wing mythology, any fair comparison of the level and quality of health care shows the United States isn't the best in the industrial community of nations. We continuously rank somewhere in the middle, to lower third.
Beyond that there is a moral factor involved which some of these "born again" Christian types seem to ignore completely. What Ted Cruz and the rest of the buffoons are saying is that if you need to change to a different health care carrier, through no fault of your own, and you have a pre existing condition, ie cancer, even if in remission, or type 1 diabetes, you're screwed. Yes, Sarah Palin might bay at the moon about government "death panels," but what she isn't telling you is death panels already exist. They are called insurance company actuaries. They aren't there to help you. They're there to make sure the outfit they work for can turn a really big profit. If it means you die because the stats say you are too big of a risk to insure--well that is capitalism at work, baby. Buck up, at least people will never accuse us of being socialists.
A couple of weeks ago a wise man told critics he supported the Affordable Care Act because, "When you reach the gates of heaven, St. Peter isn't going to ask if you made the government smaller. He is going to ask how many poor people you helped."
See you at the bottom of the cliff tomorrow.