A week into the government shutdown, and nine days until the debt ceiling will be reached, there’s not a lot of “new” coming out of Washington.
All sides remain at a standstill. At the moment, no talks are scheduled between any of the key players. Congressional Republicans and Democrats are still on the floor of the House of Representatives making their five-minute speeches on C-Span. Senators are giving occasional interviews on cable news channels to express their viewpoints. As this column comes together, President Obama is talking – to the White House press corps.
In other words, nothing appears to be happening to move the federal government out of shutdown mode.
At the heart of all of this is the Affordable Care Act.
On Kentucky Tonight Monday, our panel debated the three-year-old law almost as if it had not passed both houses of Congress and been signed by the president. Even though parts of the law are already in place, and health insurance exchanges like our state’s Kynect program are signing up people for coverage, opponents of “Obamacare” continue to pound away at the law and find flaws with its implementation.
Our guests last night were State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, vice chair of the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Human Resources; Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, vice chair of the House Health and Welfare Committee; Dr. Peter Thurman, medical director at Family Health Centers in Louisville; and Dr. Ralph Alvarado, an internist and pediatrician in Winchester.