Saturday, September 28, 2013

Delaying individual mandate, as GOP now proposes, would wreck exchanges and Obamacare, Democratic aide warns; McConnell says Republicans can't get Democratic votes they need in Senate

The key piece of the latest House Republican legislation to keep the federal government running – a one-year delay of the federal health-reform law and its requirement for individuals to make sure they are covered – "would have serious consequences" for the online health-insurance marketplaces set to open Tuesday, writes the spokesman for the only Democrat in Kentucky's congressional delegation.

"If you require insurance companies to cover everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions and don't require everyone to have insurance, the insurance companies will leave the market," writes Stephen George, communications director for Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville. "Kentucky tried that in 1994, and the results were devastating: 40 insurance companies left the state, leaving just one private plan and one state-run plan." Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that in her concurrence to the decision upholding the law, George notes.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told that the House plan "would be a very appealing vote to all Senate Republicans," but they despair of getting any Democrats to join them. "It would require at least five Senate Democrats to agree with that. We’re not going to be able to do anything Republicans-only in the Senate because we have a math problem."

Hinting that the game is about at an end, or at least that he wishes it to be, McConnell said Republicans would target four Democratic senators who are seeking re-election next year in states President Obama lost twice: Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

"There are four Democratic senators who are running for re-election who will have to explain to their constituents why they didn't take the opportunity today to defund, and therefore stop, this overwhelmingly unpopular law," McConnell said. "Our ability to have achieved the defunding is not there, because we don't have enough Republican senators to achieve the goal — and until we have at least four or five Democrats to support us, we can't get that job done." (Read more)

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