| Tomorrow the government will likely shut down, mostly because the GOP can't accept that the Affordable Care Act is the law.
And because the Republicans in Congress haven't been able to overturn it even after 42 votes, they're trying to delay it by one year or shut down the government by trying.
Though the ploy will never make it past the Senate (hence the shutdown), it's worth looking into what exactly the House Republicans are asking for with a one-year delay of implementing the ACA.
Looking past the more obvious motivation that "a year from now, opponents would demand another delay and then another or outright repeal," the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out that there are serious adverse consequences to delaying implementation even by one year, including:
- Increasing the number of uninsured nationwide by 11 million in 2014 relative to current law.
- Reducing health reform coverage gains in 2014 by nearly 85 percent.
- Increasing insurance premiums in the individual market.
- Creating severe problems for health insurance exchanges just as implementation is supposed to begin: "insurance companies have said that the prices at which they have pledged to offer coverage through the exchanges would have to be withdrawn - and new, higher prices imposed instead - if the individual mandate is delayed."
Fortunately, the health insurance exchanges are still set to open on October 1. Read why after the jump.
|The shutdown will not actually disrupt the implementation of the ACA as much as many Republicans would like. As Politico puts it, "The government will shut down, and Obamacare will open for business." That's because many parts of the ACA, including this one, aren't tied to appropriations, but rather are considered mandatory spending. Much like Medicaid or Social Security payments, the funding will continue during a shutdown, even if there are fewer people working at the administering agencies.
But in addition to the issues for exchanges identified above by the CBPP, the shutdown could also add another layer of confusion to the process - one of the main anticipated barriers to getting the uninsured enrolled - as "people may not realize they can still sign up when the government is shut down." So even if the exchanges are open, the shutdown will likely reduce the number of people actually enrolling, not to mention the number of people who realize the ACA is even still the law.
A rare voice of reason, John Cornyn spoke out against the House maneuver, announcing, "I say to my friends who say we ought to shut down the government to get rid of Obamacare: It won't work." After 42 fruitless votes, this much should be obvious. But Ted Cruz, as evidenced by his stunt last week, would rather prevent the government from doing just about anything so long as it disrupts the Affordable Care Act.
In the end, it's likely that the Republicans will have to cave and the ACA will still go into effect. That leaves us with the effects of the shutdown itself, which the Lone Star Project covered for BOR: in Texas, we'll see tens of thousands of furloughs, disruptions to VA benefits and an inability to take out new federal loans for student financial aid and home loans, to name a few.
But aside from these temporary issues, we also will deal with the larger issue of having representatives in Congress who would rather shut down the government than allow 5 million uninsured Texans to access health insurance.