Obamacare Remains At Heart Of U.S. Shutdown Standoff

Oct 9, 2013

Today marks day nine of the federal government shutdown, with still no budget compromise in sight. Both Democrats and Republicans remain on the offensive, calling on the other to make some sort of concession.

South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (left) speaks Monday at the Fort Lauderdale-Holllywood International Airport, accompanied by Carolyn Newman, a breast cancer survivor who says she will save $7,000 a year on her health insurance plan thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Rachel Morello

But undoubtedly, one elephant remains in the room.

Although it’s only part of the spending bill at the heart of the government shutdown, the Affordable Care Act remains a central point of debate between the two parties.  

Speaking at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport this week, South Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said Republicans shut down the government because they weren’t successful in their previous effort to delay or defund the Affordable Care Act.

“Quality, affordable health care – that is what this is about,” Wasserman-Schultz said. “The Republicans have held our economy hostage, and are using the implementation of affordable, quality health care for all Americans as ransom.”

House Speaker John Boehner said last weekend that the votes were just not there to pass a clean spending resolution.

“Speaker Boehner, roll the dice. Put the damn bill on the floor, and let’s see,” said Wasserman-Schultz.

Donna Rose is a self-described Republican from the state of Washington who was at the airport and heading home after a cruise. She said she worried about Obamacare, specifically how her grandkids’ generation will pay for it.

But she said Congress needs to compromise.

“No matter what you’re doing – whether it’s politics, business, or anything – you have to learn to compromise,” Rose said. “You have to give and take and give and take. It’s ridiculous that they’ve gotten to this (point).”

The country faces an even larger challenge in the days ahead – an increase in the debt ceiling. Without it, the U.S. would be unable to pay its bills.