The ACA and the shutdown -- a personal note
I will never, ever forgive the Republican party for this. Faced with a program that, imperfect as it is, will do more to improve life in this country than any previous government initiative since Social Security and Medicare, they've tried every possible maneuver to destroy it -- now even refusing to fund the government unless they get their way, and threatening to do the same with the debt-ceiling vote in a couple of weeks (which could force the government into default, with disastrous consequences). It's not quite as outrageous as if a gang of teabaggers had hijacked a passenger plane and were threatening to shoot the passengers unless the ACA is repealed, but it's not much of a step up from there.
Based on preliminary research, I myself* could probably get decent insurance through the exchange that would cost $150 a month less than my current COBRA payment, perhaps as much as $400 a month less. Multiply that savings by millions of people in a similar position, and you can see the benefit to individuals and the stimulative effect on the economy as a whole. And there are tens of millions more who, unlike me, are in desperate straits -- they have no health insurance at all or can only barely pay for it (here's an example). Now they finally have a chance to get it affordably. And the Republicans are fighting like hell to take that chance away. Every other developed country on Earth has some kind of health coverage for its entire population. Why can't we do that? Why are we the only advanced nation that can't do that??? Because of the Republicans.
I used to root for moderate and sane Republicans who I hoped, if they got the upper hand, could reform the party. I don't feel that way any more. I'm done with that. I don't think the party can be reformed, and it wouldn't deserve the chance even if it could be. It's become a cancer that needs to be cut out of the political system. More immediately, as I said last week, it's imperative that the Democrats make no concessions. Yielding to hostage-takers just means more hostage-taking later. We can't let these people manufacture a crisis every few months whenever some vital vote needs to be taken. Right-wing pundit Jennifer Rubin, here seen begging us to throw a sop to Boehner so he can back down, is wrong. We can't let the Republicans save face. We must not only crush them but publicly humiliate them. The consequences for what they're doing must be made as severe as possible to ensure that they never dare try it again.
[*I should stress that I'm not personally in a dire financial position. I'm just using myself as an example since I've looked at the numbers.]