Republicans are inexplicably frightened that ACA is going to work, and rightwing religious nuts have twisted their belief system into a divine complaint against family planning (With a total population increase of a billion people every 10-15 years since 1960, humanity isn't likely to die out from lack of procreation). The brouhaha over ACA is founded in nothing but Republican partisanship and untenable "moral" complaints. For this, they've shut down the government, shuttered most services and put 800,000 people on unpaid furlough (while Republican lawmakers continue to draw paychecks).
Yes, the Affordable Care Act should be funded. If parts do not work, then we fix those parts. Wishing for a tried-and-true answer to our health care problems won't work. We know that, 'cause that's what we've been doing for years and costs keep going up while coverage goes down.
The pre-cursor to the ACA, aka Romneycare, works just fine. Don't allow Republicans and willfully ignorant citizens to kill a law on the basis that a Democrat president will be credited for a law that is good for Americans.
-- MIKE WILSON, Richland
The non-negotiating president
I definitely do not think that Congress should use the budget as leverage to kill Obamacare. Fortunately that is not what the current dispute is about (apparently the Tri-City Herald didn't get the memo); the Republicans want to delay the Individual Mandate -- the requirement that all American citizens purchase health care coverage -- for one year. Obama has declared he will not negotiate with the Republicans, and, by extension, the American people. Yet he already has negotiated with thousands of companies that have sought, and received, exemptions from Obamacare. He also has negotiated with unions, who originally were strong supporters of the legislation. He has also negotiated with Congress, who do want themselves and their staff to have their insurance subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. Obama negotiated with insurance companies to delay caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs. Obama delayed, with no consultation with Congress, enforcement of eligibility requirements (can you spell F-R-A-U-D?). In short, Obama does whatever he wants to, but rails at the thought of negotiating with Republicans.
Oh, by the way, the "Affordable" Care Act appears to be anything but. Premiums are skyrocketing (doubling and tripling), even though Obama promised health care insurance premiums would DROP by $2,500 per family. This can be added to his long list of lies, right behind the Most Transparent Administration in history and "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Period." Unfortunately, the problems with Obamacare are going to get much worse before they get better (if they ever do). Welcome to the new world order: You voted for it, now you've got it.
-- TOM SEIM, Richland
Furloughs not right
No, the budget should not be used to kill the "Obama Compulsory Health Care Act." When I think about the government shutdown, I immediately think of the men and women of the armed forces that put forth their lives every day to protect and uphold our freedoms. How can Congress be allowed to put the hurt on these soldiers when they sit back and continue to get paid huge salaries?
How can the United States government require U.S. citizens to select a health care option or suffer a penalty fee? What happened to the freedom of choice? The right to say no has been infringed.
-- JOE STERBA, Richland
Let the process work
There is a process for passing and amending legislation in this country. Historically, it has been called democracy. Essentially, this means that the majority rules. The current effort by extremists to kill or gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is out of place in the context of the America that I grew up believing in and defending. A handful of Congressional Representatives from safe, deep, red seats are seeking to thwart the democratic process and impose their will on the majority of people in this country.
Holding the best interests of the nation hostage to achieve a goal that could not be achieved through the established democratic process is nothing more than political blackmail. Honestly, I am embarrassed for the entire country by the circus that is going on in D.C.
Our own congressman is just as much the blame here. If the majority of House Republicans pressed the speaker to bring the budget bill to a vote without the ACA baggage, it would pass easily. That's democracy. Our congressman, and the remainder of his caucus who refuse to allow such a vote, are as un-American and as unworthy to serve as any foreign enemy who seeks to tear down our democratic institutions.
Political parties come and go, but we have survived as a nation this long because we respect the process of government. Our cherished ideals of political democracy are unraveling before our eyes. Let's hope that folks wake up before the extremists ruin a good thing.
-- ERIC NORDLOF, Kennewick
It's already a law
The Affordable Care Act is law. It is not a proposal. It is not a bill before Congress. It is not open for debate. That ship has sailed. It was passed by Congress, signed by the President of the United States and found to be constitutional by the Supreme Court. If the Republicans, or anyone else, want to change the ACA or even repeal it, then that will require more legislation. They need to use the process that is in place to argue their points and make their case. ACA is not a bargaining chip nor should it be used to pay ransom to rescue the government and economy.
Conservatives constantly say that the American people don't want "Obamacare;" the American people are on their side; they speak for the American people; etc. They speak for a lot of people but they do not speak for me and they apparently do not speak for the majority of voters. The ACA was passed in the first term of the Obama Administration. In 2012, Barack Obama was re-elected with a firm majority. Voters could have easily shown their disapproval by voting him out and electing a conservative who would repeal ACA. But they didn't. And national polls, both conservative and liberal, have shown that a 70 percent majority of the voters do not approve of linking the ACA and the complete funding of the government.
It's odd to me that the ACA is so despised by conservative factions within Congress. It should be a conservative's dream. It expands health insurance in the free enterprise system and hugely expands the insurance market. Four years ago, insurance companies were fighting to defeat passage of ACA because it would kill their business. Now they are starting to embrace it because they realize how the market for their product is going to expand. That all means money for the industry and we all know who some of the biggest donors are, to both political parties.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives has the power to bring to a vote a continuing resolution that would keep the country running. But the Republican party and the entire political process has been hijacked by a handful of extremists (Tea Party) and the rest of us are held hostage. John Boehner has put the economy at risk just for the sake of appeasing these extremists and keeping his position. I can't count the number of times I have heard him or Mitch McConnell or a dozen other Republicans say that the president has never once submitted a budget to Congress as required by law. That is a blatant falsehood. The truth is, Obama just hasn't submitted a budget that the Republicans like.
If we think this situation is outrageous, just wait till the battle over the debt ceiling. Let the hostage taking begin!
-- GARY HENNE, Kennewick