Update on GOP efforts to shutdown govt over Obamacare

As you may know, the Republicans are threatening to shut down the entire US government, permanently, unless President Obama agrees to completely defund health care reform.


The Republicans’ urgency is understandable. In a little under two weeks, the Obamacare exchanges go into effect, and many Americans might just find that their insurance costs will go down, while their coverage will go up. And the GOP can’t have that. After all, as comedian Stephen Colbert said on his show last night, “The most dangerous thing about Obamacare is that people might like it.”


If the Republicans actually cared about health care, actually cared about our health, they’d let the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) go into effect in two weeks, and let people see if things are better or worse. If things are better, great. If they’re worse, we can always repeal it. The only reason for any urgency right now is that the Republicans are actually afraid, as Colbert notes, that people might like what they find once health care reform begins to be fully implemented.

Of course, all is not well in GOP-land.  While the US House has diligently passed its 42nd or so health care reform repeal, Senate Republicans, known for being relatively sane, are squirming at the notion of launching a filibuster in order to defend their repeal effort.  Most notably, GOP “Tea Party” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has been famously undercutting the House Obamacare-defunding effort for a while now, particularly this week.

Of course, Cruz isn’t the only Republicans waffling on the government shutdown.  The House GOP leadership called the plan crazy, only to then push Republicans in the House to vote for it.  This is more evidence of the fact that the crazy now controls the Republican party in America.  It began with the religious right, and now in addition to the Bible crazies, the GOP has to deal with the budget crazies (and more generally, crazy crazies) as well.

A new Washington Post poll shows the problem the GOP is facing. While the Post tried to spin the poll as bad for the President, I think it’s actually bad for Republicans.  Yes, half of the public is opposed to health care reform, though as always no one has any idea what the law actually does, so their disapproval is substantively irrelevant.  We need to see what the law actually does before anyone’s approval or disapproval can hold water.

But here’s the problem.  The poll shows that half of those who oppose the law want the government shutdown in order to defund it.  But that’s only around 1/4 of the American people overall.  That’s hardly stunning support for a defund.  You can get 1/4 of the American people to support anything.  Getting 50% is an entirely other matter.

Now, that doesn’t mean the Democrats are doing their job in educating the public about the ACA.  They haven’t, and still aren’t.  But hopefully once the law goes into effect, people will learn that the law is actually doing good things (assuming it does).  Nonetheless, Dems had better stay on their toes.  Republicans are awfully good at lying.  They’ve proven that already with health care reform, with the stimulus, and more. They don’t govern terribly well, but they do lie exceedingly well.  Democrats are going to have to up their game if they’re going to convince Americans of how good the ACA is, or can be.  (Again, assuming it is. If it’s not, we can repeal it later.  But why not wait until we see what it actually does?)

And as I’ve noted repeatedly, the biggest danger today’s GOP faces on any issue – be it the economy, taxes, climate change, education, civil rights, or overall government spending – is the truth.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • alexis862

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  • While I agree that calling it Obamacare makes it easy for the GOP to Pavlov-ize their base, I don’t agree that they would eventually leave PPACA alone. After all, half a century down the line and they’re still trying to get rid of Medicare, to say nothing of the three-quarters-century-old social security…

  • Because they didn’t call Social Security, “Roosevelt Retirement,” nor Medicare, “Johnsoncare.”

    Both the credit and the blame for PPACA belong to the Dems who crafted the bill.

    Besides which, using that particular name makes the entire health insurance reform effort into a political football. The GOP won’t ever stop trying to repeal ‘Obamacare’ — but they might’ve eventually left PPACA alone.

  • BillFromDover

    Polls also reveal that 44% of you average American idiots think that this has already been repealed and the rest are too lazy to even waste their time figuring out what it does.

    Go figure!

    BTW, if you’re gonna dis Todd, at least don’t misquote him and put words in his mouth.

    Do ya have links to these quotes?

  • BillFromDover


    It’s gonna be overwhelmingly successful, so why not give the guy credit where credit is due?

  • BillFromDover

    And once the populace realizes that they are being fucked over for nothing other than conservative idealism, and how much better those in democratic states have it, how long do ya think they will remain red?

    Knell one of the conservatism obsolescence bell has just gone DING.

  • David McCord

    We have to do something bring the Republican Party our of their bizarre tea party delusional bubble where they try to push minorities and our social programs back to the 1800’s. Either the Party has to start working to help other than the super rich one percent or die. The FOX Spews and AM radio conservative propagandists can only lie so often before even the gullible hayseed rural and bible belt fundamentalists catch on to the soak the middle class to glut the rich scam. Check out my Laxivote video at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcnNnK8rvhFiQGj7IULK13g

  • I prefer not to use the ‘Obamacare’ term either.

  • Spot on.

    Here in Wisconsin, Scott Walker refused the funds for health care exchanges. He also reduced funding for Badger Care, the state-run health insurance program for low-income people. This man is truly a dick.

    So yes, Republican governors are the ones who will be the biggest impediment to the PPACA (I hate calling it “Obamacare”; it’s giving into the chuckleheads who coined the phrase). As imperfect as the PPACA is, it might be a foot in the door to what we really need, truly socialized medical care.

    One of my friends with whom I spend a lot of time discussing politics has said the perhaps the most important thing we can do is to get Republican governors out of office. For a number of reasons, and this is one of them.

  • Buddy Novisnki

    Let the House Republicans shut down the government. Let the tea baggies learn what they want and the consequences.

  • Luigi Proud DemoCat!

    A few facts:

    1. ACA isn’t great shakes, but is better than what we had.
    2. Some form of single-payer, divorced from employers is ultimately the only way we will meet the human rights requirement that all people within the borders of the USA have access to proper healthcare.
    3. The Republicans are trying to stop ACA because they know that Americans will like it and want it expanded into a universal health care system.
    4. The Republicans care more about corporate profits than human beings.
    5. The Democrats try, but they are scared of corporate retaliation and don’t do their jobs adequately.
    6. I hope the Republicans carry through on their threat and shutdown the government because it will destroy the Republican Party and may be the only thing that will prevent them from taking over the U S Senate. It’s also the only hope Democrats have of gaining a majority in the U S House.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Thanks for the info. I didn’t know about Nixon. He tried to be a populist but he just didn’t have the heart for it.He kept reverting to type.

  • nicho

    No, I didn’t mean to imply you said that. Sorry if I gave that impression.

    And, the ACA, as a form of Romneycare is actually a direct descendant of a plan put forth by Nixon. Nixon’s plan was more “socialistic” than Obamacare even pretends to be. Oddly, the insurers and GOP were OK with Nixoncare and the Dems were opposed. But this was before healthcare was corporatized and the corporatists realized they could pocket millions of dollars off of human suffering.

  • ezpz

    Maybe the “Dems lack of effort to promote/defend it” is because they know what a pos law it is that they pushed through, and there’s not much of it, if anything, to ‘promote and defend’.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I agree – Democrats are the enemy and so are Republicans. ACA was their program until Obama adopted it, much the same way the NAFTA, DOMA and the deregulation bills were Republican efforts adopted and championed by Clinton. Medicare is being gutted to finance Obamacare/Romneycare and millions are being forced into HMO’s.

    One party is as bad as the other. Obama wants to gut Medicare even more and wants to gut Social Security. The Republicans just voted to cut food stamp funding by almost $40 billion dollars.

    If we disagree it’s about the Republicans. They are not, in my opinion, any worse than Democrats, they’re just more honest about it. They embrace their right wing politics and Democrats lie about their right wing politics.

    What on earth made you think I said that Republicans were out to make things better? I should be clear that I think both parties are the same and equally unworthy of the support of people who give a damn about working people.

  • fletcher

    I’ve seen the Koch-addicted ads against Obamacare on TV. One even turns the plastic-faced Burger King into Uncle Sam. But the ads are one lie from beginning to end. I think its time for counter-ads to call out these lies.

  • nicho

    I agree with everything you said, but — and this is a big but — the GOP isn’t out to make things better. In fact, their goal is to make things even worse, if that’s at all possible. Unfortunately, it is possible. That’s the hell of this situation. You’re right. Single-payer is the only way to go. And for the record, even Medicare isn’t the dream situation many people not on Medicare imagine it to be.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Obamacare is a travesty. It’s a Republican plan previously known as Romneycare. It’s carefully crafted to make maximum profits for insurance companies especially HMO’s and pharmaceutical giants.

    Obama betrayed the public option (1) and never even considered socialized medicine, which is what’s really needed. His betrayal came after he had a couple of dozen secret meetings (2) with corporate owners and manager from insurance companies, HMO’s and Big Pharma. His betrayal was the result of his acceptance of over $20 million in bribes – aka, campaign contributions – from the same people. (3) Congress got similar bribes. (4) Most Americans have a very fuzzy of idea of the basics of Obamacare and the corruption that crafted it.


    (2) “President Barack Obama has hosted at least 27 meetings with some of the most influential private health-industry executives in the country in an effort to lacate or at least quiet potential opponents of reform in what remains a tenuous legislative process… On Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Times published a story revealing that the Obama White House was refusing to release records of meetings it had allegedly held with 18 private health care industry executives (the number ended up being 15). Later in the day, CREW filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security seeking to obtain those records. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/22/obamas-private-health-car_n_243115.html

    (3) “Obama Received $20 Million from Healthcare Industry in 2008 Campaign – Almost three times the amount given to McCain – While some sunlight has been shed on the hefty sums shoveled into congressional campaign coffers in an effort to influence the Democrats’ massive healthcare bill, little attention has been focused on the far larger sums received by President Barack Obama while he was a candidate in 2008. A new figure, based on an exclusive analysis created for Raw Story by the Center for Responsive Politics, shows that President Obama received a staggering $20,175,303 from the healthcare industry during the 2008 election cycle,
    nearly three times the amount of his presidential rival John McCain. McCain took in $7,758,289, the Center found.” https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/01/12-9

    (4) http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/health-insurers-and-drug-companies-contributed-262-million-111th-congress

    We need what Obama betrayed – Medicare for all, single payer, socialized medicine – what ever you want to call it. Anything less will continue to result in disability, chronic suffering or death for working people especially those without union plans. Many people will not be able to afford the plans offered by gangster insurance companies because real wages have been pushed down by union busting and the export of union jobs until most workers are pauperized. Every President since, and including, Nixon has been part of that effort and Clinton, with deregulation and NAFTA was the worst of them.

    Obamacare is Romneycare in drag. Both treat the needs of working people with criminal contempt.

  • rmthunter

    I’m not so optimistic about their audience — if that were the case, we wouldn’t see poll results, even skewed ones, showing that half the people in the country don’t like the ACA. Chalk one up for the corporate media, which, according to Chuck Todd, doesn’t feel any responsibility to present people with actual facts.

  • ARP

    Dems will ride the fence until people decide that they like it, despite Dems lack of effort to promote/defend it. Once that happens, we’ll get endless ads about how hard they fought to protect the law.

  • I’m not sure I’d consider any governor who basically suspended democracy in his state, against the explicit wishes of the voters, as even somewhat sane.

  • voltronforce

    My boyfriend is relying on ObamaCare’s medicaid expansion. He is a college student and works as well but makes just barley over min wage. Our somewhat sane GOP Gov Rick Synder forced the Michigan GOP to expand Medicaid. The Teapartiers however delayed its implementation until April 1 2014. My bf was a foster kid that aged out of the system so he does not have parents to fall back on like a lot of college students do.

  • perljammer

    The ACA will make health insurance more affordable for some people. It will make it less affordable for others; for example:

    – Young people who currently carry only catastrophic or other minimal coverage. They will have to buy plans that meet ACA minimum coverage requirements, at substantially higher cost. Or, they may opt to pay the penalty (which is much lower than the cost of premiums) and go without any coverage.

    – People whose health insurance is covered or subsidized to some extent by their employers. Some of these people will lose their employer-provided coverage and have to turn to state pools. Some will find that their plans don’t meet ACA minimum coverage requirements and have to turn to state pools. Some will find that their plans exceed ACA maximum coverage requirements and will have to pay a penalty to continue the coverage or turn to state pools (unless they’re part of the favored group that have been granted waivers).

  • JayRandal

    Congressional GOPers only want themselves and wealthy Americans to have health-care benefits.
    Problem for Democrats they enacted health-care act that benefits insurance companies more than
    Americans needing actual medical care. Medicare-for-all should have been passed by Congress.

  • One detail remaining unaddressed here: The sabotage against the PPACA by GOP state governors and leaders.

    There seems now to be a pretty good likelihood that in the ‘Blue’ states, PPACA will be a net positive for most people. The uninsured will be able to get insurance. Rates appear to be in the realm of reasonable. Insurance inflation may finally come under some degree of control. Elimination of the pre-existing condition denials and lifetime benefit limits are both excellent reforms. Is it perfect? Not even close. Insert the usual “healthcare shouldn’t be a profit-driven industry” disclaimers here.

    However, in the Red states, it’s already getting nasty, and they don’t even need a federal defunding to make it happen. No Medicaid expansion in most of them, or attempts to turn any such expansion into even more profit for private companies, at the expense of anybody who would otherwise qualify for the expanded Medicaid coverage. Laws and regulations rather akin to the voter suppression laws — only now it’s laws to prevent Red state citizens from learning about the federal benefits to which they’re entitled.

    In other words, the GOP is making moves to harden their supporters’ opposition to the PPACA, to make it not work.

  • Scoring political points against the Democrats, and giving every appearance of wanting to destroy America’s democratic republic, now has supreme priority over everything else.

    Essentially, the GOP is trying desperately to make the American people hate the Dems. Sadly, the Dems cooperate much of the time with this, especially the neo-liberal contingent. The only upside is the GOPers are now so far out there in the extreme, they no longer realize the only audience to whom they’re playing is their own radicalized base.

  • JG

    Stephen Colbert just twerked on Death. No other arguments are valid.

  • Butch1

    Let’s see if the quisling democratic senators can try and hold it together for two weeks and not cave in. I do not trust Reid to do the right thing and wait for two weeks until Obamacare has a chance to completely go into effect. Whenever there is a victory in our grasp we know what happens. It is snatched out of our hands and we would rather accept defeat instead. That is the way of the quisling democratic party. I hope they surprise me this time, though I will not hold my breath.

  • All this fuss over a watered down “compromise” stemming from a Republican idea.

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