Morning Action: What Will Congress Have to Show for the #Shutdown?

HOUSE PLAN EMERGING.  Robert Costa tweeted this morning that the House has confirmed the details of their plan.  It would fund the government with a continuing resolution until January 15, and it would provide for a debt limit extension until February 7.  It would include an income verification provision for Obamacare, ensure that members of Congress and White House Cabinet members get Obamacare.  It would also provide for a two-year medical device tax extension.

The House may vote as soon as this evening. 

BAD SENATE DEAL.  The budget deal being hashed out between Senate leaders is reported to have no concessions of any substance from President Obama, while the Republicans are getting almost none of what they asked for, especially with regard to Obamacare:

Democrats won’t say it too loudly just yet, but the emerging budget agreement leaves Republicans with remarkably little to show for forcing the first government shutdown in 17 years: They barely nicked Obamacare and their poll numbers are in tank.

President Barack Obama would get most of what he wanted. He had insisted that Congress reopen the government and extend the country’s borrowing authority without any ideological strings attached. He held the line on the debt ceiling and Democrats are set to hold off Republican attempts to lock in next year’s round of sequester budget cuts early.

The details of the Senate plan are not finalized and could change in forthcoming talks:

The emerging plan would reopen the government until Jan. 15, 2014, and extend the debt limit into February — but it would not address the medical device tax, which many Republicans and Democrats would like to repeal.

A source familiar with the negotiations explained that Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed to get the repeal of the tax removed from the negotiations. The Nevada Democrat has been a vocal opponent of repealing the excise tax, at one point calling the idea “stupid” at a news conference.

The White House also pushed back against including a medical device tax rollback in the deal.

It appeared likely that the deal would punt the question of turning off automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, to another round of budget talks, with a deadline of Dec. 15. But under one proposal, if the sequester came into effect there would be increased flexibility to deal with it.

OBAMACARE EXEMPTIONS.  Not only is the Obamacare exchange system full of glitches, but the system for determining whether or not once can be exempt from Obamacare doesn’t exist yet:

The health law’s least popular component — the requirement to obtain insurance or face a tax penalty — also features a lengthy list of exceptions for people facing certain hardships like foreclosure, domestic violence or homelessness. Members of certain religious sects or Native American tribes also are exempt.

But if the online system for getting into Obamacare coverage is rickety, the system for getting out of the mandate doesn’t even exist yet. HHS says it will take another month at least for the administration to finalize the forms.

The Obama administration estimates that as many as 12 million people will seek exemptions through the federal enrollment system. But if they try now through, a customer service representative will tell them that applications aren’t available.

SKYROCKETING PREMIUMS.  Many Americans are beginning to wonder, ‘for whom is the Affordable Care Act more affordable?’

That reason is becoming clear as person after person opens the mail. Insurance costs are going up. For many, not just going up—skyrocketing.

Ross, a married father of three small boys in Florida, tells us his insurance will be going up $525 per month. “I feel completely helpless,” he says.

Kevin, who also has three small boys, just found out his wife’s individual health insurance premium will be jumping from $79 per month to $311.82 per month.

“For whom exactly is the Affordable Care Act making care affordable?” asked Kevin, who lives in Alabama.

The Heritage Foundation notes that increased premiums aren’t the only problem people are experiencing with Obamacare – costs will continue to increase because of Obamacare’s many mandates and regulations:

One of the reasons the Obamacare website has been so slow and glitchy? It requires people to enter personal information before they’re able to see insurance plan options. Health and Human Services does this so that if you’re eligible for a subsidy, you won’t see the true cost of your health plan.

Obamacare is laden with mandates that are driving up the cost of health insurance. And it didn’t stop with the original law. Federal bureaucrats are continuing to write more Obamacare regulations. One estimate is that these paper pushers have added 30 words of regulations for every word in the original law.

No small tweak to Obamacare can fix this. No small tweak can give relief to these hard-working dads who are supporting their families and getting the wind knocked out of them by hundreds of dollars in insurance hikes.


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