(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Congress is nearing a Sept. 30 deadline to pass a spending bill in order to keep the government running. On Friday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved that legislation, but it included what Democrats call a “poison pill” — a provision that would defund Obamacare. The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to reject the plan. We examine the politics of the budget battle. Is the country headed for a government shutdown?

Guests:
Julie Hirschfeld Davis, congressional and politics reporter for Bloomberg News
John Bresnahan, senior congressional reporter for POLITICO
Paul Singer, congress and politics editor for USA Today

  • Frank

    If they defund Obamacare, with the IRS still be able to seize money from people who don’t have health insurance?

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    These Republicans talk around the issue but never come up with SOLID solutions for helping families with chronic medical issues or disabilities who simply cannot afford coverage or lack coverage via work!! These are the folks who say they are PRO life, yet their actions speak otherwise.

  • Bob Fry

    The Republican Party has become a cult, believing in extreme ideas and willing to bring disaster to all in pursuit of those ideas. It’s very dangerous when a group believes only they have the True Answers.

  • MOL

    Can we please stop referring to this as Obamacare? It’s so childish, inappropriate, and insulting. Call it its rightful term: the affordable care act.

    • Bob Fry

      Even Obama calls it Obamacare. I think it’s a nice in-your-face to the Republicans.

      • MOL

        You are right about that, I guess. But it also implies that this is an arbitrary program that someone wants and we lose the important fact that Americans need and want this. We are probably the only first world country that can’t take care of our citizens’ healthcare.

        • Skip Conrad

          We’re too busy taking care of the rest of the world.

  • James R

    Obama Care is not a train wreck. US medical billing is a train wreck. See Time magazine’s cover story published this year.

    The Access to Affordable Care Act aka Obama Care is exactly what is says, it gives Americans access to affordable care. If tea party republicans ever had to apply for indivdual coverage they would know had bad it is and why people choose to avoid coverage. Avoiding coverage sets you up for bankruptcy if you go to the hospital.

  • James Ivey

    What exactly do Republicans say is wrong with Obamacare aside from the fact it was signed into law by a Democrat? Is that people like me with preexisting conditions might get health care? Is it that insurance companies can’t spend as much on salaries and advertising? Is it that poor people might get health care? Is it that health care is already too cheap in the US?

  • Truthinator

    The bottom line is; the government shouldn’t be able to force its citizens to buy something from a private company. It’s that simple. Why is that so difficult to understand for you idealists?

    • James Ivey

      Then let’s add the public option so people don’t have to buy it from a private company.

      Health risk (which is distinct from health care) is a market that no one can opt out of. As long as unconscious people are taken to the hospital automatically without being asked first, no one can realistically promise to never ever use health care.

    • Bob Fry

      So you’re one of the “let them die” teabaggers? As long as we believe and behave that we are, somewhat, our brother’s keeper, and we don’t simply let people die, then we all pay for others’ health costs. Once we realize that, we realize we need something more efficient than Emergency Room care. Is that difficult to understand?

      • Truthinator

        No, actually, I’m very liberal, hence why I listen to KQED. I just have common sense, unlike a lot of my liberal friends. My “brother” can and should keep himself. We’re here to help each other, sure. Don’t resort to scare tactics. Let’s talk about facts. You ignorant modern liberals are so indoctrinated, so brainwashed, you spread fear just like the republicans. You’re the same damned thing, but serving a different easily marketed to demographic.

        The problem is that health care costs are outrageously high. Why? It’s because the insurance lobby has funded hospitals to turn into giant conglomerates, absorbing all local doctors under their banner. They’re in bed together. They decide on the prices. If you have a broken arm, it costs $5000+ to get it set and cast. Before, you could pay out of pocket for something like that, psh maybe 400-$500. You people are so stupid you want to give the very people that made it unaffordable, MORE MONEY. Are you crazy? The Affordable Care Act is as deceptive of a moniker as the Patriot Act. Hospitals pushed out doctors that would actually charge a reasonable rate, and either makes them operate under their umbrella, or they make their practice insurance so high, they can’t operate at all.

        The medical system needs to be set up more like how dentistry is set up. Insurance can’t get their paws on dental and oral surgery, yet. You can afford to pay out of pocket. They operate independently from large medical conglomerates, while still being able to take insurance.

        I just had 2 wisdom teeth pulled and it cost me $400. If I’d broken my pinky finger and had to get it set, and taken care of by a hospital, Jesus H Christ on a ten speed bicycle…I shutter to think of the cost. Thousands…

        Are you people even smart enough to know who is with you or against you?

    • Chemist150

      The US produces 2/3 of the marketable drugs. This is not by chance. It’s a product of the capitalist motives behind the process. They want to make money, so helping the most number of people they can is a strong motive.
      With the new systems, regulations and taxes are already favoring the mega companies who do not develop as much but depend on buying upstarts with good leads. Knocking out the smaller guys will kill this process and cut it to at least half of what it is currently.

      There is a trade off being made. They’re trading for treatments that often don’t work or marginally extend life for future treatments that will work better.

      Personally, I’d settle for a better economy but they refuse to improve the budget to increase the internal money supply; but instead they continue giving our money to the Chinese. They could give everyone jobs by bringing that money home to increase the money supply which will increase labor demand which will lead to higher wages.

      With 70% of the GDP already government spending feeding of the 30%, Obamacare is going to ensure the US will be stuck in “lost decade” after “lost decade” like Japan was/is from their inability to control debt and keeping the money supply up by printing money.

      The US is not healthy and is currently choosing it’s tombstone.

  • Cathy

    While politicians have a responsiblity to educate their constituents, it seems the constituents that these more extreme republicans come from wont listen to any reason and willing to comprehend that the government process requires some compromise in order to function responsibly and effectively. When do we start holding them responsible for their contribution they are adding to this problem? After all, if we live in a democracy where a citizen’s vote matters, other citizens have the right to address their decisions.

    • Chemist150

      They would have to be educated themselves to educate the constituents. They’re largely attorneys and not economists or statisticians.

      Simply educating on the what’s in the bill, that does not project outcomes and unintended consequences not even thought of or ignored.

  • shamelessly

    We need to increase Social Security benefits, not cut them. Our deficits are not a long-term problem. We are recovering from a deep recession — the biggest in 80 years — and the government should be deficit spending to pull the economy out. While the people at the top have seen some recovery in the past couple years, people in the bottom half of the economy certainly have not.

  • Steve

    I suspect that many Republicans are actually more worried that Obamacare will be successful, so they are trying to sabotage it. They know that if it succeeds, they will be out of office for a long time.

  • Tari Conway

    why not cut the farm aid given out, regardless of need, to both farmers and wealthy land owners I heard talk about this morning on WFAE ~ that would save billions and seemed to have support in both houses. Why go after the ACC ~ which would help EVERYONE ~ if not to just be a thorn in the President’s side.

  • William – SF

    Isn’t much of the right’s vitriol with the Affordable Care Act directly related to political pressure by GOP groups like The Club for Growth that threaten GOP law makers with replacement – see Mitch McConnell? And these GOP pressure groups incentives are directly related to their success with online funding? — Can you say blackmail as a revenue source?

  • cstratford

    My husband is a NASA scientist who has an instrument on Mars. He has
    been notified that his salary will be cut, in the event of a government
    shut-down, yet the Mars Rover will go on (with his help). Congressional
    salaries should be similarly affected – it worked in California – we’ve
    had timely budgets ever since state legislators’ salaries were linked
    to them.

  • Illijana

    Our democracy was designed to protect minority rights, not to give minorities more power than the majority. Does no one remember Germany in the 1930’s? This is extremists trying to force their ideas on the 99%, allied with the 1%.

  • This is too much to take. GOP says they care about people, then do everything possible to hurt our most vulnerable populations. Good programs always take time to implement. Policy to practice is hard, takes many iterations to get it right. This constant sense of frantic drama has to stop. Feels like another McCarthy Era to me.
    Why aren’t we taking away Congress’s health care, salary and staff. Where do they feel the pain? Never seen such a mean streak.

  • Edwin Freeman Jr

    People
    need health care at affordable prices. Health care shouldn’t be
    available to the rich, wealthy, and politicians only. let me repeat
    that: HEALTH CARE AND MEDICAL INSURANCE AND ALL TREATMENT OPTIONS
    SHOULD BE AVAILABLE TO ALL AMERICANS AT AFFORDABLE PRICES. POLITICIANS
    AND THE WEALTHY ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES THAT DESERVE QUALITY MEDICAL CARE.

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