A Thought on the Current Effort to Defund Obamacare

Last week, the House passed a Continuing Resolution that funds the Federal government through mid-December while withholding funding for Obamacare.  Now the bill is in the Senate, where (some) Republicans are taking up the fight (we can argue tactics of the Senate fight, but that’s another story).

Here’s an aspect of the context of the fight in Congress as a whole.

There are some alternatives that fall short of full defunding, this year, but that make serious progress toward that end following the 2014 (and likely the 2016) elections—assuming the Republican Party can overcome its communications incompetence and actually talk to their and their Democratic Party colleagues’ constituents.  One is to accept a delay of Obamacare (at least the Individual Mandate) for a year.

Another is to get rid of the recently, and quietly, accepted an Office of Personnel Management ruling that Congressmen and their staffs are not subject to Obamacare strictures: these worthies get to continue their own, Cadillac of Cadillacs, health insurance plans along with the (taxpayer-funded) subsidies for these plans.  The Obamacare law explicitly requires Congressmen and staffers to buy their policies just like their merely mortal fellow Americans—on the exchanges that Obamacare mandates, from their employers (if one can be found who will continue to offer health insurance), or on the individual market.  At enormously increasing premiums, even compared to what’s currently available.  OMB ruled, fictitiously and at Congress’ direct request, that no, those Cadillac of Cadillacs plans and subsidies remain completely jake.

Very few Congressmen, though, want to push this particular alternative.  Indeed,

several Democratic senators have reacted by drafting legislation that would punish anyone who votes for [any legislation including this plan] by permanently blocking an exemption from them and their staff, even if [the plan] doesn’t pass.

There’s a hint there about the future of the overall “effort” to defund Obamacare, especially in light of Republicans’ penchant for folding in the clutch.

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