Why I Won’t Shut Up About the Shutdown

Summer 8 October 2013 | Comments Off

us-gov-shutdown-4oct2013-2So let’s get a couple of things straight. The politicians who refuse to pass a federal budget in protest of the Affordable Care Act are withholding government services from millions of Americans who need them.  Some of these services include:

  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which provides pregnant women, women who recently gave birth, and their families with federal assistance through food stamps, especially targeting those children who can’t get the early-childhood nutrition they need because they are living in poverty
  • Head Start programs that provide early-childhood education to low-income families.
  • Domestic violence and rape crisis centers funded through the Violence Against Women Act. It is predicted that 70,120 fewer victims will have access to recovery programs and shelters as a direct result of the federal shutdown.

Representatives currently rejecting any federal budget and withholding these services in an attempt to force the President’s hand. Their aim is not at reforming but at outright repealing a comprehensive piece of health care legislation that increases the accessibility of affordable health care, makes it illegal for health insurance providers to discriminate against Americans with pre-existing conditions, expands access to health care for both young and low-income Americans, as well as requiring health insurance coverage to include essential medical services for women’s health including affordable contraception options and preventative screenings.

Oh, and by the way the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the ACA is fully paid for and will actually reduce the federal deficit over the next 10 years and beyond. Just saying.

So essentially the elected officials who are currently in support of the government shutdown as it exists today are in favor or taking federal funds from programs that provide nutrition, education, and protection from domestic violence in the name of keeping health care too expensive and inaccessible for our poorest and sickest Americans because, according to them, the system we had before was better than this alternative.  Even though medical costs are the main source of bankruptcy in the United States and even though Americans are notoriously unhealthy, “living sicker and dying younger” than those in many other rich nations.

Apparently, according to these politicians, none of that means that Americans actually need or even want these services.

But the way I see it, the fact that the Affordable Care Act was passed through a democratically elected House and Senate, signed by a democratically elected President, upheld in the Supreme Court, and upheld through a Presidential mandate in the 2012 elections tells an entirely different story.

I am angry.  I am crazy angry.  I am livid that a minority of Congresspeople (and yes, it is currently a minority) are denying essential services that they have deemed “nonessential” because they hope to continue to deny essential medical services, services that protect women and their families, young Americans, sick Americans, Americans living in poverty, Americans who want access to preventative medical care and contraception so that they can make informed choices about their lives.

Ending the government shutdown and passing a federal budget should be our top priority because while a minority of politicians shutting down a federal government may be undemocratic, denying needy Americans essential nutritional and health services is immoral and it is cruel.

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