Now it appears Democrats are willing to make another change, and rushing to defend the act as it is are — get ready — Republicans.
Included in the act is a temporary fee (some call it a tax) on everyone covered by health insurance. Beginning with $63 per individual this year and declining to $40 when the assessment ends in 2015, this fee will raise approximately $25 billion. That money will be used as a fund that will help insurance companies if they face unexpectedly high costs for insuring people with prior medical problems. Under the act, as of Jan. 1, 2014, no one will be turned away.
Under pressure primarily from labor unions, Senate Democrats proposed delaying the fee, apparently to buy time to either sell the idea to labor or tinker with the plan to make it more acceptable.
Although anti-tax Republicans might normally go along, they didn’t. Instead, they set out to derail the delay.
What is interesting is that labor is not the only group in favor of delaying the fee. Large employers, who have traditionally been to Republicans what labor has been to Democrats, also want a delay. Although large employers would likely pass the cost on to their employees (just as unions would pass the cost along to the rank and file), they would also like more time to figure out what to do and who to do it to.
Seems few Republicans are listening to the large employers, their long-time allies. Instead, it seems the more conservative Tea Party wing of the GOP is calling the shots. We find ourselves facing the prospect that conservative opposition to anything associated with the president is so great that the GOP is willing to levy a fee on fellow Republicans simply because Obama wants to delay it.
As the GOP becomes more and more dysfunctional, instances like this will become more frequent. As this happens, Republicans will look for someone to ride to their rescue. Waiting in the wings is Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, mounted and ready.
Cruz is the last thing the GOP needs.