(Sept. 18 -- By the Editorial Board)
Call it extortion or hostage-taking or whatever you like, but the House Republican willingness to shut down the government in order to defund Obamacare is despicable.
House Republican leaders have shown how far they are willing to go to cave to the tea party faction. They signaled on Wednesday that they are willing to shut down the federal government if they don't get their pipe dream to defund Obamacare
They simply are unwilling to acknowledge that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which they call Obamacare, is the law of the land.
Those under age 65 who don't get health insurance through their employer, Medicare or Medicaid will be able to enroll in an "exchange" starting Oct. 1 to buy health insurance that starts January 2014.
Many other provisions already have taken effect. Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed Obamacare into law in 2010. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in June 2012.
In the 2012 presidential campaign where Obamacare was hotly debated, the American people made their choice clear. That November, Obama won the popular vote 66 million to 61 million. He won 332 of 538 electoral votes.
So now when Congress must pass a temporary spending bill to keep the government funded past Sept. 30, House Speaker John Boehner has acceded to tea party demands. Call it extortion or hostage-taking or whatever you like, but this is despicable. And dangerous.
Last week, Speaker Boehner was prepared to bring a clean continuing resolution to the House floor for a vote that would have funded the government. Now Boehner has reversed himself and plans to hold a vote on Friday to make government funding dependent on defunding Obamacare.
Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, who is in the shutdown camp, made his position clear at a town hall meeting in El Dorado Hills in August. He indicated he would not vote for any more continuing resolutions unless "we can get a provision in the continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare this year." He is willing to fund the government only if the nation jettisons a law that aims to make health insurance affordable to his fellow Americans who don't currently have health insurance.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., showed how parochial and ideological the tea party faction has become. Massie told The Washington Post: "All that really matters is what my district wants. And my district is overwhelmingly in favor of my position." It doesn't matter that 14.5 percent of people in his state were uninsured before Obamacare passed in 2010 - more than 600,000 people. It doesn't matter that 13.4 percent of the people in his own district were uninsured - 98,000. And clearly, making insurance affordable for Americans across the nation is not a priority.
After 41 votes to repeal Obamacare have gone nowhere, House Republicans see this as their last, best chance to end Obamacare before the enrollment period begins Oct. 1. And they have shown that they are willing to shut down the whole government to do this.
Americans should let House Republicans know what they think about this ploy, and remember it when they vote in the 2014 elections.
The Bee's past stands
"One of Obama's campaign pledges was to reform the health care system that has left so many Americans uninsured ... While there still is much work ahead to implement health care reform and hold down medical costs, this law holds the promise of extending health care coverage to 36 million Americans. Obama has good reason to be proud of 'Obamacare.' It is a signature achievement that has eluded presidents dating back to Harry Truman."