I’m just back from a week and a half away and ready to jump back into health care blogging. It was refreshing being on vacation –a chance to get away from the routine. So it’s a little sad to come back and see the same game going on with GOP attempts to stop Obamacare, using the threat of a government shutdown to do it. In this context it’s actually somewhat of a relief that the government is expecting to run out of borrowing capacity sooner rather than later and therefore need to deal with the debt ceiling around the same time.
As Alex Seitz-Wald writes (John Boehner’s escape hatch is closing)
GOP leaders know the scheme put forward by Ted Cruz and others to shut down the government unless Obamacare is defunded is hopeless, but they risk mutiny in their ranks if they don’t at least pay lip service to it.
So, as Jon Chait, Greg and others have pointed out, House Speaker John Boehner has been playing a familiar game of bait and switch with his base by promising to let House Republicans do something crazy in the future in order to get them to stop threatening to do something crazy now. He ”treats his members the same way a gambler treats his loan shark. ‘C’mon, spot me again, I swear I’ll pay up next time!’” Brian Beutler quipped, noting that we’ve seen this same strategy play out again and again in numerous congressional fights.
The country would benefit from a serious debate on health care policy. It is harmed by the demagogic approach taken by the Republican party’s leadership and much of its rank and file.