Tipton misleads his constituents on federal exemption for Obamacare
As the shrinking tea party members in the House continue their vendetta against Obamacare, they risk alienating more politically realistic Republicans who recognize that stopping Obamacare from taking effect Jan. 1 is a lost cause.
Despite dwindling support from their own party, diehard tea party Republicans in the House seem determined to make a final stand against Obamacare, despite the odds against them.
Colorado’s 3rd District Rep. Scott Tipton was so anxious to attack Obamacare, he rushed the latest GOP anti-Obamacare propaganda into print without considering it might not be true.
Armed with faulty information spread by the tea party right, Tipton charged into the breach of the battle. “If it’s good enough for the American people, it should be good enough for Congress,” was his battle cry.
When the Obama administration made a technical adjustment to bring certain congressional employees into coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Republicans quickly and erroneously characterized it as a rule “to provide subsidies for members of Congress and their staff under federal health exchanges.”
This exemption, Tipton informed his constituents in a newsletter, “is unfair to Americans who are fully subjected to the onerous burdens of Obamacare. Congress ... shouldn’t receive special treatment or exemptions from the Administration under the law.”
He then launched into an exhortation against any special-interest group, especially Congress, being exempted from the Obamacare exchanges.
Tipton makes a pretty good case for why Obama insisted Congress and government employees be included in Obamacare.
The technical amendment to Obamacare that triggered the latest Republican hysteria was not an effort to exempt anyone in government from participation in the Affordable Care Act. It expanded coverage to employees who otherwise might be excluded erroneously.
In fact, according to health care expert Timothy Jost, blogging on Health Affairs, “Far from exempting Congress from ACA requirements, as some have reported, the amendment subjects members to a legal requirement that will apply to no other Americans.”
Tipton misinformed his constituents that the Obama administration exempted Congress and congressional staff from joining the health care exchanges that will determine rates for other health care consumers.
The Democrats could have not said it better: “Congress should live under the laws it passes — including Obamacare. This is common sense pretty much everywhere,” the message from Tipton said, “except in Washington.”
If a lack of common sense is an infliction resulting from exposure to Washington, Tipton seems to have been infected. Even as a growing cadre of House and Senate Republicans distance themselves from the idea of stopping Obamacare by defunding it, those on the far right seem compelled to make their last stand.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, warned his House colleagues, “There’s not a legislative method that we have that is capable of defunding (Obamacare) short of 67 votes in the U.S. Senate, short of two-thirds (of the) votes in the U.S. House.” Those are the number necessary to overturn the inevitable presidential veto of any attempt to defund or repeal Obamacare.
As conservative blogger Byron York posted at the Washington Examiner website, “Republicans will not stop Obamacare. They won’t defund it. Their last chance to put an end to it was the 2012 election. They lost, and the chance is gone.”
It is time for Tipton to accept that reality. His attack on Obamacare is so far from the truth that allowing it to stand uncorrected represents a continuing endorsement of the GOP myth over the obvious truth.
Tipton’s constituents deserve better. If Tipton wants to continue his crusade against Obamacare with a 38th symbolic vote to repeal when Congress returns, that is his right. So is voting to shut down the government if it comes to that.
But, as Coburn points out, defunding Obamacare is “not an achievable strategy. It’s creating the false impression that you can do something when you can’t. And it’s dishonest.”
Tipton’s unprincipled attack on Obamacare for totally discredited reasons makes him a poster child for GOP dishonesty. The Third District deserves better, beginning with an apology from Tipton for his misleading anti-Obamacare fabrications, and a true report on congressional obligations to ACA regulations.