The house has passed a bill that would defund Obamacare. Although passage in the Senate is unlikely, this marks a significant roadblock to implementing the Affordable Care Act and could cause a government shutdown. The New York Times reports:
The Senate is expected to reject decisively a House bill that would delay the full effect of President Obama’s health care law as a condition for keeping the government running past Monday, as Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, expressed confidence that he had public opinion on his side.
Although the Affordable Care Act was not been overwhelmingly popular when it was enacted, only one-third of Americans support repealing the bill.
Why has support for the bill risen? It could be a status-quo bias; people don’t like change.
On the other hand, it could be the fact that the bill is very complex and most Americans do not understand even the basic tenets of the law. For instance, three-quarters of the uninsured don’t know when the health insurance exchanges are going to start.
One question is will delaying implementing the health insurance exchanges even matter? If the delay is only a few months, the answer is likely ‘no.’
Senior officials within the Obama administration predict “that there will be relatively few sign-ups on Tuesday, when tens of millions of Americans will, for the first time, be able to sign up for new insurance options.” Most official believe the sign-ups in October and even November will be light and only pick-up by the end of the year. Even if funding the Affordable Care Act was not delayed, Exchanges are scrambling to open their doors by the Oct 1 deadline tomorrow.