Opponents Of Reform Want To Shut Down The Government To Defund Health Care

October 01, 2010 4:14 pm ET

In the latest attempt to deny millions of Americans access to affordable, quality health care, congressional Republicans are entertaining a back-door move to defund the new health care reform law. From the outset of the health care debate, Republicans have used political maneuvers to delay, sought to repeal, and now threaten to defund health care reform. While the so-called Republican governing agenda — the Pledge to America — promises to repeal President Obama's signature accomplishment, the President has pledged to veto any such effort.  If Republicans regain control of Congress, party leaders have floated the prospect of forcing a government shutdown by failing to appropriate funds.  Not only is this bad politics for Republicans — as Americans are increasingly supportive of the new law — it's bad policy.

If Republicans force the federal government to shut down, millions of seniors might not receive full Medicare coverage, the Veterans Administration might close the door for critical health services, and working families might not receive Medicaid coverage.  In 1995 and 1996, Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich orchestrated two government shutdowns that cost the federal government $800 million and denied critical health services to seniors, veterans, and the poor.

In the midst of a recession, shutting down the federal government to defund health care would not only deny millions of families quality and affordable health care, it would also threaten the livelihood of millions of Americans.

GOP Leaders Aspire To Shut Down Government

Rep. Boehner "Would Not Rule Out A Government Shutdown." According to The Hill: "[House Minority Leader John] Boehner, in an interview following the release of the House Republicans' 'Pledge to America,' said he would not rule out a government shutdown, but he would look to avoid it should his party take control of Congress in the fall." [The Hill, 9/23/10]

Rep. King Wants To "Include A Repeal Of Health Care Reform In Every Appropriations Bill Next Year, Even If ... A Government Shutdown Occurs." According to Roll Call: "Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the most outspoken conservatives in the House, said last week that he wants Boehner and other House leaders to sign a 'blood oath' that they will include a repeal of health care reform in every appropriations bill next year, even if President Barack Obama vetoes the bills and a government shutdown occurs. 'I'd like to challenge them to make that pledge,' King said. 'I'd like [Boehner] to make that commitment that if the president shuts down the government, there wouldn't be a repeat of 1995 where the House caved,' King said." [Roll Call, 9/20/10, (subscription required)]

Sen. Coburn: "The Endgame Is A Fight Over Funding" The Health Care Reform Law. According to the Associated Press: "If you thought passing the health care overhaul was messy, wait until Republicans try to repeal it if they regain power this fall. It could come down to who blinks first, with some Republicans raising the prospect of a government shutdown. Even if Republicans succeed beyond any current predictions and capture both the Senate and the House, they wouldn't have enough GOP votes to overcome President Barack Obama's veto. But Republicans could still fall back on the congressional power of the purse, denying the administration billions of dollars to carry out the most far-reaching social legislation since Medicare and Medicaid. 'The endgame is a fight over funding,' said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla." [Associated Press, 9/7/10]

A Government Shut Down Would Have Dire Consequences For Americans Across The Country

The links below have additional details on how this Republican plan would affect Americans in these states:



New Jersey



South Carolina