Guy has a more comprehensive Obamacare-related post coming later today, but I just wanted to hammer this point home: The first partial and temporary government shutdown in nearly two decades is not delaying or preventing the Obamacare “train wreck” from going into effect as planned. Starting today, Americans will begin enrolling in the “Affordable” Care Act’s health insurance exchange program -- despite the fact that the implementation process is hardly expected to go swimmingly:
For three years, the Obama administration has been preparing for this moment: the launch of new insurance exchanges, intended to expand health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. But this is far from the grand opening that President Barack Obama may have expected.
Instead, the exchanges are starting up just as most of the federal government is shutting down, left unfunded by a Congress that's still bitterly divided about whether to discard Obama's health care law altogether.
There will be just a skeletal staff at the White House on Tuesday when Obama appears in the Oval Office to tout the benefits of his law alongside Americans who plan to purchase insurance through the exchanges. Many of Obama's aides, like hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the country, will be on furlough due to the first partial shutdown in almost two decades.
"Unfortunately, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility," Obama said in a video message the White House released just after midnight Tuesday, as Congress missed its deadline to keep the government running. "It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again."
Meanwhile, a new poll out today shows that roughly forty percent of respondents said Obamacare will hurt their families:
Less than one in five Americans say their families will be better off under the new health care law, according to a new poll.
But a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday morning also indicates a majority say the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, will help some people, with 37% saying the law, which is gradually starting to kick in, won't help anyone.
According to the poll, four in 10 say the new law will make their families worse off, while 41% believe it will have no effect.
Seventeen percent think the measure will be a good thing for themselves or their families.
Yet despite Obamacare’s fleeting and consistent unpopularity, the public has soured on the quixotic “defund” strategy conceived (and pushed) by congressional Republicans. Americans, for their part, overwhelming opposed shutting down the government in order to strip funding from the president's "signature" legislative achievement. And now that it has (a surprise to no one, really) expect GOP lawmakers’ approval ratings to sink even lower.
Republicans in Congress also got record-low marks in the poll. Just 17 percent of Americans approved of the job GOP lawmakers were doing, and 74 percent disapproved. That’s the lowest approval ever in Quinnipiac’s polling, and is down from August and July this summer.
Those surveyed also disapproved of Democrats in Congress, 60 percent to 32 percent, but that was the best approval rating Democrats have seen since May.
President Barack Obama’s numbers also continued to be underwater, with voters disapproving of his job 49 percent to 45 percent.
The poll was taken well before the government shutdown, of course, but it’s fair to say that the American people will hold all parties responsible. But perhaps no political party will bear more responsibility than Republicans in Congress; after all, that’s what happened last time.