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Senator Lee leads the fight to defund Obamacare

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – With our nation on the brink of another major government shutdown, House republicans have set the stage for a showdown with Senate democrats.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – With our nation on the brink of another major government shutdown, House republicans have set the stage for a showdown with Senate democrats.

The House is expected to pass legislation to keep the government funded, but pull the plug on the Affordable Care Act.

Standing united with colleagues from the House of Representatives, Utah Senator, Mike Lee is gearing up for a fight.

"Yesterday was a great day, a day of victory for the many, many Americans who have been speaking with a sustained voice over the last two months," says Lee.

He’s referring to legislation going to the House for a vote.

"It will keep the government funded, keep everything funded while defunding Obamacare," says Lee.

The Defund Obamacare Act is expected to clear the house as early as Friday, but it faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

"I would hope that maybe a handful of democrats, perhaps some of those up for reelection in red states might consider joining with us as well," says Lee.

As the debate in Washington continues, implementation of Obamacare is moving full speed ahead.

"There's a lot to do here in Utah to prepare for the Affordable Care Act," says Jason Stevenson, with Utah Health Policy Project.

Open enrollment is less than two weeks away. It begins October 1st, 2013 and runs through March 31st, 2014. If you want your insurance to kick in on January 1st, 2014 you must be enrolled by December 15th.

"Here in Utah we've elected to have the federal government run the market place for individuals and families, so people are going to find insurance on a website that's http://healthcare.gov," says Stevenson.

Stevenson says http://healthcare.gov is a one stop shop with competitive options.

"You'll type in I’m from Utah and you'll be instantly connected to all the Utah options that are available to you. We think there will be about 99 plans," says Stevenson.

Most people who willfully decline will pay the price when filing a 2014 tax return. It carries a $95 fine for adults, $47.50 for children.

Those with private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid won't notice much of a difference.

"There's going to be some little tinkering around the edges, but really the Affordable Care Act is designed for those who have been shut out of the insurance market for many years," says Stevenson.

If Senator Lee and other republicans on Capitol Hill get their way, it will never get to that. Lee is starting the Defund Obamacare Act debate with a preemptive strike.

"If democrats in the Senate reject it, then they've got to come up with a proposal. They don't have a proposal, we haven't seen a proposal from them, we haven't even heard of an outline of a proposal," says Lee.

Senate democrats will likely do just that, reject the plan.
Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid tweeted that any bill defunding Obamacare will be “dead on arrival in the senate.” He calls the effort a waste of time.

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