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Letting ideology trump protecting our most vulnerable citizens

Michigan's Tea Party Republicans are doing everything in their power to block the formation of a state-run health insurance exchange. These state exchanges are mandated by the Affordable Care Act and, if they are not formed, the federal government will do it for them, taking away the state's ability to control their own destiny. As I wrote last summer, this self-defeating behavior is harmful to Michigan's most vulnerable citizens.

Leading the charge is Gail Haines, the chair of the House Health Policy Committee. You may recall that it was Haines who prevented pro-Choice women from giving testimony at a hearing on a package of extremely regressive abortion bills last summer, sparking a huge rally at the Capital.

Haines is a tea party darling. She herself says she is a proud member:

Gail Haines, state representative from District 43, said the Tea Party still has a presence in Michigan.

“I am very involved with my local tea party and they support me,” Haines said. “I go to as many of their events as I can.”

The Waterford Republican has used her position as chair of the House Health Policy Committee, to delay formation of the exchanges with Republicans saying they wanted to wait to see the results of the November 6th election. Now that the election has come and gone with no particular change in the balance of power, Michigan still faces a deadline this Friday that, according to Michigan Radio, will come and go with no action by our lawmakers.
Michigan is not likely to meet a Friday deadline to tell the Obama administration whether the state will operate its own insurance exchange under the federal healthcare law.

The exchange is where businesses and individuals will shop online for coverage.

A key Republican decision-maker says she won’t be pushed by federal deadlines without first getting more questions answered.

The Affordable Care Act passed in March of 2010. These Republicans who say they need questions answered have had two and half years to do the research needed but that's clearly not their true goal here. Their goal is to avoid having their names associated with "Obamacare" at all costs, even if it means harming Michiganders who need these exchanges in order to have affordable health insurance.

With tea partiers sending out emails with titles like "ALERT, ALERT, ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (I'm not kidding, that's a cut-and-paste from an actual email), Haines and her tea party Republican comrades are being given the cover they need to act like complete jackasses at the expense of poor folks.

In the interview with Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta, Haines says this about Friday's deadline (AUDIO HERE):

That is if the federal government stands by that deadline. How many deadlines have we seen changed?
Playing chicken with the federal government doesn't take courage. It is an act of childish petulance and the Top Petulant Child is Gail Haines. As I wrote in July:
These people are not patriots. They are self-absorbed, selfish and ill-informed about the very things they say they are fighting for.
Cross-posted from Eclectablog.
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