Staring contest

October 11, 2013

As we write this, no one has blinked, neither the U.S. House of Representatives, which tried first to defund the Affordable Healthcare Act and then to delay it, nor the Senate, which has refused to go along with the House, shutting down a portion of the government, and disrupting the lives of 800,000 federal workers.

Meanwhile, President Obama stays on the sidelines as his signature legislation, known to most Americans as ObamaCare, ambles onward, fractures the country and paralyzes this nation.

Not much has been clear in recent days, but this seems safe to say: ObamaCare has not arrived as advertised. People across this nation, including one-time proponents of the legislation, are suffering the sticker shock of seeing the rise in the cost of their health care; additionally, Obama’s promise that if you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance, has been exposed as just another lie from just another politician.

Next time, perhaps it would be a good idea if the lawmakers actually read the legislation before turning it into law.

It is also disheartening to know that all this is over legislation that falls far short of expectations; even if fully implemented, and that will eventually happen even if it is eventually overturned by a different Congress, it leaves as uninsured 30 million Americans a decade from now. That means a full 10 percent of Americans will continue to be without health insurance.

House Republicans, in shutting down the government, are playing with fire, especially with elections just 13 months away. It’s true that more and more Americans, as they better understand ObamaCare, are lining up against it, but shutting down the government over legislation that was approved by Congress, signed into law by the president, and upheld as constitutional in a narrow vote by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a gamble.

So the Senate and House stand on opposite sides of the aisle, staring at each other to see who blinks first. We can promise you it will be the House as the clock can’t be put on pause; the government cannot be allowed to idle for much longer.

We don’t know where this ship is headed, which is worrisome enough, but even more troubling is that no one appears to have hold of the wheel. This is the leadership we have elected.