Obamacare is here

Republicans leaders are most worried that Americans will like the new law

Why have congressional Republicans embarked on their wacky mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act? As the dramatic developments Monday night (Sept. 30) showed, they weren’t going to succeed. Democrats in the Senate and White House weren’t about to negotiate with “a gun to our head,” as President Obama put it, referring to the Republicans’ threat to shut down the federal government if the Democrats didn’t agree to defund the act.

The fact that the shutdown would begin at the very moment—midnight—when implementation of the health law went into effect made for a discordant convergence that made Monday night’s events seem utterly surreal.

First the Republicans said, either defund Obamacare or we’ll shut down the government. Then, when that didn’t fly in the Senate, it was delay the health law for a year. Then it was delay implementation of the individual mandate for a year. Then, bizarrely, they wanted to send the budget proposal to a conference committee—all this as the clock was ticking toward midnight.

What Republicans fear most is that Americans will actually like Obamacare, just as they like Medicare and Social Security. After all, the ACA has already saved consumers more than $1.2 billion by limiting the amount insurance companies can charge for administration. It also has enabled young people to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26, and forbidden insurers from excluding customers with pre-existing conditions. And that’s just for starters.

What we saw Monday night were the last desperate efforts to kill it. What we got instead was a government shutdown.

The agency implementing Obamacare in the state is called Covered California (see Cover feature, “Looking for buy-in,” page 20). Go to its website at www.coveredca.com to find out what’s available. Join the campaign to make health insurance available to everyone.