The Veterans Administration is under fire for long wait times. What’s really going on, and how much does it matter?
The NYT highlights three ways the new Republican majority will try to roll back the Affordable Care Act:
Republican lawmakers said, for example, that they would propose limiting the money and personnel available to theInternal Revenue Service, so the agency could not aggressively enforce provisions that require people to obtainhealth insurance and employers to help pay for it. Under the law, individuals and employers who flout the requirements will face tax penalties.
Moreover, Republican leaders said, they plan to use spending bills to block federal insurance regulations to which they object. And they will try to limit access to government-subsidized private health plans that include coverage ofabortion — one of the most contentious issues in Congressional debate over the legislation.
On the first issue, defunding the IRS, the truth is that the fines were always symbolic: “the penalties are low and enforcement is nonexistent.” One the second issue, the Republicans plan to carry water for the insurance industry, well, good luck with that! Even the most incompetent Democrat should be able to come up with an attack ad against any Republican who tries something like that. Finally, the abortion thing is truly messy, but abortion politics are always messy. If the Republicans want to re-start the Abortion debate, then that’s going to play out as abortion debates usually do, whether they’re debates over late-term abortion or federal funding in general, the contours of that debate are pretty clear, and the Democrats, in the long run, tend to do pretty well.
So, if this is all Boehner’s got, then, at the risk of sounding hubristic, bring it on.
Episode 435 is up. Happy Independence Day!