An anonymous person squeezed an appeal into the weather report, saying “Please pay us.” The federal employee did it using the first column of letters down the page of a report warning about a coming storm expected to sweep from Bristol Bay to Cook Inlet.
This second week of the government shutdown is getting on nerves and poses a frustrating portrait of Congress’ inability to come to an agreement. It does not speak well of diplomacy in the face of such obstinacy and disregard for the toll this is taking on a government already in deep, dark debt.
We feel for the federal workers waiting out the government shutdown from their homes. These workers perform vital services. They are the people who help us know the weather outlook; they staff important agencies whose time is now for gathering up data from a season’s work and compiling it for the public to understand their environment.
We lend our voices in the appeal to call this off. That means that the Republican majority in the House needs to call it off. Grudges against Obamacare can be worked out later. It is a law that was already vetted and enacted by Congress. Tied to a budget discussion is not the proper place to bring up complaints.
The timing poses an irony. Just as the Affordable Care Act is being unveiled to customers across the nation, the Congressional grid-work tries to stall its implementation. People who logged on to take a look at the cost for more than 66,000 Alaskans to become insured found some hopeful numbers coming their way.
In January, a high number of uninsured people will finally have access to the health care we suspect is neglected in these days of insurance being out-of-reach. Think of postponing work on a toothache, or failing to get a check-up. Think of preventive medicine that isn’t in the least accessible when people need to put money aside in case of serious illness.
Those on the lower income level may be eligible to go on Medicaid, which ensures that the struggling among us will not have to pay an astronomical amount. Those in the middle have access to immediate tax credits that knock down their monthly premium costs. There’s also a subsidy for the deductible.
Who knows how it will play out in the future. Some people may still find insurance unaffordable or it could put a serious crimp in the family budget to purchase insurance. But the ambitious, humane cause deserves a chance. We all know people who lack insurance. This contributes greatly to the high cost of medical care.
So, while we’re looking over enrollment options, let’s hope the government shutdown doesn’t keep on too long. We have heard reports about the unexpected consequences stretching to receiving no Social Security checks. If that’s the case, people who depend on that money to make monthly rent or purchase food will be hurting. Expect longer lines at the Homer Food Pantry and more pleas from local charities.
Some federal workers are on the bottom of the pay scale. They sweep and mop public buildings or act as assistants or receptionists. These people can least afford to go without pay.
Let’s hope this is the week they all get back to work.
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