The Obvious Way Out of a Shutdown over Obamacare

The Obvious Way Out of a Shutdown over Obamacare

Here’s a win-win. Ted Cruz proposes a delay in Obamacare’s individual mandate until 2015–the same delay that employers received. That delay takes the form of no funding to enforce the mandate. It also mirrors a condition Republicans have tied to a debt ceiling increase; in return, Cruz says, they’ll drop other demands.

That deal would allow Cruz to claim a victory of sorts. It would also allow Obama to say he’s preserved his signature legislation (until the next, post-midterm crisis, à la 2012’s fiscal cliff) while refusing to negotiate on the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. (he will have done so, but not on overall spending levels). Whew, for now.

A delay would also give Obama and the Democrats time to sort out the absolute mess that is the state exchange system, and which is undermining what little national support there is for the legislation (including among the unions). Hillary Clinton would have time to invent Obamacare fixes by 2016, the better to court moderates.

Voilà, win-win, crisis averted, back to bickering rather than brinkmanship, and perhaps a long-overdue focus on a foreign policy crisis in the Middle East that is not going away. There are also some pressing scandals that require attention, not least of which is the IRS scandal, ever more scandalous. Win-win. Therefore unlikely.