Obamacare Exchanges Start Up as Government Shuts Down

Image: Obamacare Exchanges Start Up as Government Shuts Down

Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013 06:58 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

For three years, the Obama administration has been preparing for this moment: the launch of new insurance exchanges, intended to expand health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. But this is far from the grand opening that President Barack Obama may have expected.

Instead, the exchanges are starting up just as most of the federal government is shutting down, left unfunded by a Congress that's still bitterly divided about whether to discard Obama's health care law altogether.

There will be just a skeletal staff at the White House on Tuesday when Obama appears in the Oval Office to tout the benefits of his law alongside Americans who plan to purchase insurance through the exchanges. Many of Obama's aides, like hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the country, will be on furlough due to the first partial shutdown in almost two decades.

"Unfortunately, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility," Obama said in a video message the White House released just after midnight Tuesday, as Congress missed its deadline to keep the government running. "It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again."

At the heart of the disagreement over a temporary measure to fund the government was whether Obama's health care law should be allowed to go into effect as written. House Republicans, cheered on by tea party-backed Republicans in the Senate, sought to defund or delay parts of the bill, arguing that once Americans started enrolling in the exchanges, the law will become harder to repeal.

Obama insisted he wouldn't sign a bill that gutted the law, his signature legislative achievement. Lacking funding from Congress, the White House budget office told agencies shortly before midnight to start closing their doors.

In a bit of irony not lost on the law's opponents, the main components of "Obamacare" will proceed full speed ahead despite the shutdown that will shutter national parks, veterans' centers and other government operations, starting Tuesday and lasting until Congress finds a way to break the stalemate. That's because funding for the Affordable Care Act, like other "mandatory" functions such as Social Security, air traffic control and national defense, is protected from the whims of Congress.

In his sole response to the shutdown early Tuesday, Obama directed his comments not at the lawmakers he's been scolding for weeks, but instead to members of the military. He made no reference to Republicans or Democrats, but his frustration was clear as he contrasted the professionalism and courage of American troops with lawmakers' inability to fulfill what he's described repeatedly as their constitutional duty.

"You and your families deserve better than the dysfunction we're seeing in Congress," Obama said.

Tuesday's event at the White House coincides with the digital ribbon-cutting for the exchanges, which will allow Americans to shop for, compare and purchase insurance online. The Obama administration needs millions of Americans — mostly healthy, younger people — to enroll to keep costs low for everyone.


© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Michael McCaul Urges Crackdown On Radicalized Islamists in US

Friday, 12 Sep 2014 11:02 AM

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul has warned that the Islamic State is recruiting the "jihadi cool" crowd in America while calli . . .

CIA Triples Estimate of ISIS Fighters: 30,000+

Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 23:35 PM

Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria now have about 20,000 to 31,500 fighters on the ground, the Central Intelligen . . .

Reid Predicts Unity Behind Obama's Plan

Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 10:44 AM

On the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted Thursday that lawmakers will put asi . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved