Whats going on with the Government shutdown

After reading a lot of ignorance in the media and on Facebook, I wanted to clearly try to sum up what's going on with the government shutdown.  If I'm mistaken on any of this, please let me know (with a reference) in the comments section and I'll edit this post.

The Affordable Care Act was made law in 2012.  It went through all 3 branches of the US government in becoming so. Under this law, US citizens have the right to insurance and are obligated to purchase it or pay a tax penalty (just like you're required to carry car insurance).  For most of us who are already insured, very little (if anything) changes. It actually was a republican idea (created by Mitt Romney), but some (not all) republicans, including John Boehner (R.) really don't like it.  The ACA went into effect Oct 1. If you're currently uninsured, you can go to healthcare.gov to shop for insurance from private insurance companies: they can't deny you based on pre-existing conditions.

As a last ditch effort to keep the ACA from getting funded, House Speaker John Boehner didn't even put the House approved budget up for a vote until funding for the ACA was removed from the budget.  Democrats (and some republicans) want to keep the law funded, and so the budget wasn't changed, and was never voted on.

The fact is, the majority of the House supports the Senate approved budget, and if it went to a vote, the government shutdown would be over and we could move on. Once this happens, the democrats have agreed to discuss the ACA with Tea Party Republicans.  But the small minority of extreme republicans (lead by John Boehner) is afraid without holding the government and economy hostage, they won't have enough bargaining power.  Democrats are not negotiating while the government is shut down, to show that this dangerous and unprecedented tactic of holding the government hostage is not ok (i.e., "we don't negotiate with bullies").

But the fact is our government is not quite as divided as the current situation might lead you to believe.  A small group of extreme republicans has halted our government, and put our economy in danger in dispute of a law that has already been passed, they just don't like it. So instead of calling a vote and ending the shutdown, they are just waiting. And we're the ones hurting.

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  • Travis

    I think this is a pretty fair overview of the current shutdown, from what little I've read.

    I myself would modify this sentence: "For most of us who are already insured, nothing changes (except our cost of insurance might go down a bit)."

    As petty and bratty as the current stonewalling behavior is, those who had/have intelligent objections to the ACA would say that it will result in lower cost care for some, higher cost care for some, and lower quality care for most. In terms of costs alone, clearly we can't add millions of insurees and drop the prices for some without raising the costs for others.

    e.g., my parents (former small business owners, current semi-retirees, and very-non-wealthy relatively-uneducated red-staters [I'm the first in my fam to go to college, let alone grad school]) were opposed to "Obamacare" from the start, but are now very upset to have seen their insurance premiums double as of this month (from $500/mo to over $1000/mo).

    It's easy to dismiss the cries of "It's bad for small businesses!" as the whining of the kooky minority, but most small businesses think it's bad for small businesses, and many of them do have
    rational, specific economic reasons for thinking so. (I may have a PhD, but I shudder when, over the years, I've heard my parents talk about the complicated economic ins and outs of running their business. Folks who are otherwise easily (and fairly) categorized as "uneducated" can have a pretty firm, practical grasp of the economics of running a small business.)

    From what I understand, procon.org and factcheck.org are very non-biased:
    http://www.factcheck.org/2013/09/spinning-premium-rates/
    http://healthcarereform.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001834
    http://healthcarereform.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=003725
    http://healthcarereform.procon.org/

    -T

    PS - and yet, providing coverage for folks with pre-existing conditions and the currently-uninsured-for-whatever-reason is clearly a desirable goal. Is adjusting the system in such a was as to hurt small businesses an acceptable downside? Should "small business" should go the way of the dodo, and big efficient corporations should become the norm? Perhaps the tradeoff is worth it. I don't have the answers. I only know biochem. 😉

    • mrsoltys

      Thanks for the insight Travis!

      • Travis

        Nice, good revisions. 🙂

        PPS -- Of course, much of what I said is actually irrelevant to the current situation, and I agree with the bulk of your post. ACA passed; it's law; Boehner et al need to get over it, stop acting like spoiled brats, and stop this stupid stonewalling which is hurting people and businesses. Challenge ACA if you must, but don't shoot the hostages with this shutdown.

  • Landon

    My understanding of the various accounts I've read points to John Boehner not necessarily supporting the Tea Party and its extremist views, but rather fearing them and their well-funded backers. In the sense that a clean government spending bill might pass the House, but John Boehner refuses to bring it to the floor, then yes, you could say he's leading the charge. What's interesting in the increasing fear Republican politicians have of losing their position not to a democrat challenger, but rather to a primary election in which they are accused of not being conservative enough by more extreme voters which tend to make up a majority in those elections. As a result, those ~17 Tea Party conservatives (you'd be hard pressed to even label them Republicans) hold a disproportionate amount of power in the House.