Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) offered the following rationale for his votes to attach the delay of the Affordable Care Act to the continuing resolution on the U.S. Budget:
“The House has once again voted to fund the government while delaying and dismantling the flawed health care law. This continuing resolution controls spending, delays not yet implemented portions of the law while maintaining important consumer protections, and repeals the medical device tax that will stifle innovation, increase the cost of healthcare, and cost our economy jobs it can ill-afford to lose. The House continues to listen to the American people who do not want to see ObamaCare fully implemented because of the burdens it will place on them, their families, and their businesses. Once again, it is up to the Senate to act to keep the government open.”
“T’was brillig and the slithey trove, did gyre and gimbel on the wabe…” for all the sense this makes. First, if the Republicans wanted to “dismantle” the Affordable Care Act, (their word, not mine) that action should have been taken some 3 years ago. Not that FreedomWorks and the astro-turf Americans for Prosperity didn’t try. But — and this is important — they failed.
Secondly, NO the House version of the Continuing Resolution does NOT control spending. It does keep the sequestration of funds in the budget, but then so did the Senate version. What the GOP wanted was to cut $29 billion from revenues between 2013 and 2022. In short, the House Republicans were pleased to leave “implemented” portions of the ACA intact — they didn’t want to pay for it. This is remotely reminiscent of putting the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan on the national credit card in supplemental appropriations bills, and then calling for tax cuts.
And, NO, the medical device tax will NOT necessarily “stifle innovation.” This is pure speculation, and we could just as easily guess, “To the contrary, health reform may well spur medical device innovation by promoting more cost-effective ways of delivering care.” [CBPP]
And, yet again, NO, that medical device tax applies to items manufactured overseas as well as ones manufactured in this country. Thus, there isn’t any shift from domestic to foreign manufacturing implied in the Affordable Care Act provisions on medical devices.
In case Representative Heck didn’t notice — the Senate DID act. It received all the hostage messages from the House “Give us what we want or we’ll shut down the government,” and it stripped the ransom note out of each one of them and sent them back to you.
From the other side of the aisle a bit more rationality, compliments of Representative Dina Titus (D-NV1):
“Holding our government hostage to further an extreme agenda is not responsible governance; it is childish obstructionism. Unfortunately, manufacturing a crisis has become the new normal for the Republican Party.
“If the government shuts down, it’s the American people who will have to pay the price for the Republicans’ reckless, political games. It will create unnecessary uncertainty for businesses, hurt our economy, and undermine the confidence of Americans, all for the purpose of preventing millions of uninsured Americans from accessing health coverage.
“The Affordable Care Act was enacted by Congress, signed into law by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court, and most importantly, it has already helped millions of Americans access affordable, quality health care. But Republicans are so out of touch with reality that they would rather risk a government shutdown then put aside their obsessive disdain for health reform.
“Americans are fed up with the political obstructionism and dysfunction that have led our country to the brink of a government shutdown. Republicans should start listening to the American people and get to work on a real budget solution.”
And, so it continues, the U.S. government lurches from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis, compliments of a Republican Party, itself hostage to a minority of nihilistic flamethrowers who care less about those small businesses, families, and individuals than they do about the next primary.