Meanwhile, Healthcare!

What’s been happening while the rest of the government was sleeping.

Meet Obamacare.

And how is that working out? Results, so far, are all over the place. Normally when a big, new policy rolls out, the parties work together to tweak the law in order to get out the kinks. The Democrats objected to the Republicans’ Medicare Part D prescription drug plan during the Bush administration because it was unpaid for. But once it passed over their objections, they pitched in to make it work. Tea Party resistance has kept the Republicans from doing the same thing with Obamacare in the hopes that not fixing the kinks would make the plan fail.

The jury will be out on Obamacare for some time yet, but so far people are having mixed experiences. Most of those in the states that have their own insurance exchanges and where the governors have accepted Medicaid expansion are getting new, cheaper insurance easily. The federally-run exchanges, in those places where Republican governors have refused to cooperate, are not faring nearly so well. Technical glitches still keep many people from signing up. Jonathan Cohn, a liberal leaning health care expert, gives you the rundown here.

Yesterday

Speaker Boehner tried to pass a bill opening the government and raising the government with some sweeteners attached for the Tea Party but could not get the votes. To give him time to try, Mitch McConnell backed off his negotiations with Harry Reid in the Senate. As of last night McConnell and Reid were back at work. Best guess is their bill passes a more or less clean extension of the government through Jan 15 and an extension of the nation’s debt ceiling until Feb 7, and that Boehner allows it pass in the House with a bipartisan majority. Best account of yesterday’s events is here.

Where we are today

This is Tuesday.  The money will run out Thursday and we will go into default unless our political leaders come up with a solution first.  There is a deal pending in the Senate but no guarantee the House will go for it as it as it leaves Obamacare intact.  The Republicans have clearly lost the battle for public opinion over this debt debacle. and it shows in the prospective deal.

Meanwhile, here is a good analysis piece on the constitutional issues involved in the Tea Party’s political stance and preferred strategy.

Stay tuned for more as the week progresses.

Where we are, and aren’t

Things can and will change quickly at this point of the debt ceiling mess, which isn’t to say that they will change quickly enough to save us from disaster.  But here is a recap of where we are right now, here is an account of the political damage being sustained by the GOP, and here is a good analysis piece on the Republican’s dilemma by one of the best Washington journalists out there.

Still Shut

No promising news this morning and we are 10 days about from hitting the debt ceiling.  Some good stuff form over the weekend:

Here is the Washington Post’s Dan Balz on the internal divisions in the Republican Party.

Ezra Klein on the same thing.

And an excellent New York Times piece on the conservative groups at war with the traditional Republicans who are running the show and calling the shots. This shutdown has been in the works for a long time. If you want to know who to thank for this mess, here you go.

And Times columnist Nicholas Kristof calls it what it is: Governing by Blackmail.

Happy Monday!