As I am sure you are aware, on Friday, September 20, 2013, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government until 2015 minus funding for the Patient Protection & Affordable Health Care Act (PPAHCA).
What you may not be aware of (but soon will be) is that the decision to remove appropriations for the PPAHCA under the CR that raises the debt ceiling was not a fight that Republican leadership in the House wanted to wage. The decision to risk a government shutdown over the defunding of the health care law came directly from crowds of people in their districts on both sides of the aisle.
Why? I’ll give you four very good reasons:
- Because the PPAHCA has proven problematic for businesses who have responded to its passage by cutting back on employment, hours, and benefits, which is stifling economic recovery.
- Because the PPAHCA empowers Health & Human Services to mandate to physicians and insurance companies what medical questions to ask, what tests to suggest be performed, and what treatments to offer patients.
- Because the PPAHCA gave birth to the federal data services hub: an ominous, unsecure network that stores all kinds of personal data that is shared among various federal departments.
- Because the PPAHCA excludes members of Congress and their staffs, who for some reason, acknowledge that good wages and benefits are important variables in gaining and retaining good help in the public sector but reject the notion that the private sector works the same way.
I would like to remind you both that the PPAHCA, a revenue generating bill, illegally originated in YOUR chamber of Congress. It has been YOUR chamber of Congress that has repeatedly rejected attempts to repeal the law, it has been YOUR chamber of Congress that has continually refused to replace the law with non-intrusive, market-driven health care reforms, and it will be YOUR chamber of Congress that suffers the wrath of the growing number of Americans who are realizing that the health care law does not function as advertised.
I strongly urge you to refrain from telling stories of how mandatory spending cuts are not a regular part of the annual appropriations process or offer up bills that simply delay the implementation of the individual mandate without removing funding for the rest of it. We have seen the damage the PPAHCA has wrought on personal choice, privacy, and the economy; we know that Congress has control of the nation’s purse strings; we know that Congress, routinely, makes policy statements during annual budget negotiations; and we know that you have the power to force the president into, reluctantly, conceding his position on the PPAHCA by leaving him alone to defend it.