One week to go before a threatened government shutdown.
“Let’s defund this law now, and protect the American people from the economic calamity that we know Obamacare will create,” says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
You’ll be hearing a lot of well rehearsed soundbites.
“I’m happy to have that debate with him but you don’t have to threaten to blow the whole thing up,” says President Barack Obama.
Each side is claiming to do what the American people want. But what the American people want is complicated.
For example: A Fox News poll last week that found that 60 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare. [Although when they asked the question using the official name “The Affordable Care Act” it dropped to 55 percent.]
However, at the same time there was a Gallup poll released just last Friday, after the Navy Yard Shootings, which found that 80 percent of Americans – far more than hate Obamacare – think the mental health system deserves at least a fair amount of the blame for these mass shootings. Conservatives in particular, think dealing with mental illness is much better than passing more gun laws.
Well Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act if you prefer, vastly expands mental health coverage, including screening adults for depression, screening children for behavior problems, and preventing insurance companies from turning away anyone because of a pre-existing mental health condition.
So – in a nation with something like 200 million guns, and no appetite for gun control, do Americans really want mental illness to continue to go untreated? And shouldn’t we hear a real debate about this kind of stuff before the two sides go off into their corners and pout?