by Frederick H. Lowe
The Koch brothers, the billionaire duo that owns Koch Industries, angrily denied they forced a shutdown of the federal government because they wanted to defund the Affordable Care Act, which began October 1. The partial government shutdown is in its 10th day.
In a one-page letter dated October 9th to Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, the Koch brothers accused Reid of presenting erroneous and misleading information on the Senate floor.
David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch control Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held company in the United States. Charles is chairman of the board and CEO and David is executive vice president. The brothers are leading conservatives. Their company is based in Wichita, Kansas.
“Because several of you have asked what our position is on this issue, we want to set the record straight and correct this misinformation,” wrote Philip Ellender, president of Government & Public Affairs for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, which is based in Washington, D.C. “Koch believes that Obamacare will increase deficits, lead to an overall lowering of the standard of health care in America and raise taxes. However, Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare nor have we lobbied on legislative defunding of Obamacare.” The letter is printed on Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC letterhead.
In a front-page story, the Oct. 6, 2013, issue of The New York Times reported that David Koch, former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, III, and other conservatives developed a strategy to shutoff funding to the entire federal government in order to derail the Affordable Care Act, which is law.
Although the Koch brothers argue that the Affordable Care Act may do all three things, others are now arguing that the legislation could spark entrepreneurship and the opening of more small businesses. They argue that many individuals remain in jobs, called job-lock,” because they need health insurance for their families that is provided by their employers. Some individuals fear they won’t be able buy health insurance or buy it at an affordable price if they quit their jobs.
With the Affordable Care Act, individuals now can buy their own health insurance, and they cannot be rejected for health-insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Nearly 4 million black men who do not have health insurance now can apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act because open enrollment began today.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that there are an estimated 6.8 million uninsured African Americans, and 56 percent, or 3.8 million, are men.
Koch Industries has focused on educating the public about reducing the nation’s debt and controlling runaway government spending, the letter said.
“We believe that Congress should, at a minimum, keep sequester-level spending guidelines, and develop a plan for more significant and widespread spending restrictions in the future,” the letter added. “We also believe that Congress should work to rein-in rampant government spending so that it becomes no longer necessary to continually raise the debt ceiling. We are hopeful this sets the record straight and that in the future Senator Reid and other politicians will stop misrepresenting and distorting Koch’s positions.”