HARTFORD (CBS Connecticut): The October 1st launch of the Affordable Care Act may have rolled out smoothly in Connecticut, but the Government shutdown in Washington is still causing a major impact across the nation. Senator Richard Blumenthal addressed both the shutdown and the ACA with WTIC 1080’s Ray Dunaway, labeling the ACA detractors in Congress as a “group of right wing extremists,” bent on destroying the new policy instead of using it as a base to build on.
“There may be a need to alter or strengthen some of the ways the Affordable Care Act is implemented,” Blumenthal explained to Ray Dunaway earlier today. “Nobody is saying this system is going to be perfect on day one. Think of it as Social Security on day one– we now take for granted that the checks go out and everybody receives their Social Security on time, but even now I can tell you a lot of work in my office is to straighten out glitches in Social Security pay or Veterans’ pay. Let’s address the need to improve the Affordable Care Act, to help the Connecticut folks who are implementing it.”
Blumenthal’s stance is in line with President Obama’s, considering the new law a work in progress, one that will continue to be improved upon over the next few months. However the Senator pointed out this is not the stance of opponents of the new policy on Capitol Hill. “Their effort to delay the whole program is simply an effort to destroy it,” Blumenthal stated of the ACA’s political opposition. “They’ve made it explicit, they have said it on the floor of the House of Representatives. This group of 30-40 right wing extremist, fringe idealogues want to destroy Obamacare. To delay the individual mandate means, in effect, to destroy the program.”
“Going to the issue of government funding, let’s have a straight, simple funding proposal that continues the government in operation, and deals with the need to change the implementation and strengthen the Affordable Care Act,” he continued. “There are ways to strengthen and improve it without referring to it as the Canadian [single] payer system. Let’s make it an American model, and adapt it to American business. Lost in a lot of this discussion are the good ideas small businesses and manufacturers have in Connecticut for how to make it better implemented.”
While there is no end in sight for the partial shutdown of the Federal Government, Blumenthal also asserts that these days are anything but time off for him. “We’re had at work… We’re working on proposals to try to reopen the government. Obviously, that would be front and center, but in the meantime work is going on as usual.”