Several opinions about the government shutdown have come across these pages. Of course everyone is concerned about it and many are being impacted seriously. The obstacle? Obamacare! Providing insurance coverage for the uninsured is a worthy goal, no question. But, the problem is how we are going about it.
First of all, as I recall, Republicans were not allowed a meaningful seat at the table when Obamacare was being drafted. Their input was either ignored, rejected or denied. Then Nancy Pelosi recommended passing it “so we could see what was in it” and Democrats pretty much pushed it through without Republican backing. That alone should have been a red flag.
But yes, it is the law, and yes, the Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on it, but as a tax. Does that make it a good law? Does that make it a reasonable or even a sustainable law? A Democrat has even stated that Obamacare is a “train wreck about to happen.” And what about the imposition on religious freedom when it forces individuals and churches to violate matters of conscience by making it mandatory to provide abortion services? What about the excessive costs to taxpayers now that thousands of new government positions are required to administrate it? And this when we are facing a $17 trillion deficit and runaway government spending. What about the exemption that President Obama extended to Congress? Why is what is good enough for the American people not good enough for them? And what about the jobs that have been lost or reduced because employers cannot afford Obamacare? As if the American people can afford to lose more jobs. What about all the people who will lose their insurance because they cannot pay the higher premiums that are coming down the pike. I keep hearing about premiums going up hundreds of dollars a month! This will force many Americans to give up their insurance and pay the fine instead.
So, I ask, is it unreasonable for Boehner to insist that Congress abide by this law as does the rest of the country? Is it unreasonable for him to require that the individual mandate be extended for individuals, as it was for businesses, to give people the option of waiting a year, giving those who want to sign up the option to, and those who do not the option to wait, without being penalized. This is a reasonable request. And yet the Senate will not cooperate and the President will not negotiate. How can anything get done when the Executive Branch and the Senate are not willing to discuss a reasonable compromise? Are they not the ones who are responsible for this shutdown? And with the debt limit ceiling debate on the horizon, how will a solution be reached if the president has already stated that he will not agree to spending limits. No business could succeed by continuing to spend at the same level when it has amassed a huge debt. It is the only reasonable solution to dealing with this crisis we are in. So who is really responsible for keeping us in hot water?
There are problems, no doubt, on both sides of the aisle. But I respect the Republicans' efforts to approach this dilemma in a responsible, reasonable manner. They should not be the only ones held responsible for the mess we are in.
Loretta Hastings — Franklin, N.C.