Along with countless other Americans, I remain mystified that House Republicans insist on holding the country hostage — on threat of a government shutdown — if the Affordable Health Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) is not repealed.

The plan will make health care coverage available — at an affordable price — for millions of Americans who have been unable to obtain coverage in the past.

How can this not be a good thing? Yet a number of states are fighting it tooth and nail or simply refusing to participate, denying their own citizens the opportunity to get affordable health care insurance. And Republicans in the House of Representative think it’s better to put off paying bills and ruin the country’s credit rating so they can make points with the most radical members of the Tea Party.

Opponents of the measure throw out lots of statistics — often misleading — to claim that the Affordable Health Care Act is bad for the country and bad for small businesses, but the numbers don’t hold up. In fact, early results from states that are implementing the measure show that rates are lower than expected.

Churches should be especially happy about the law, as they qualify for participation in new plans that don’t consider factors such as pre-existing conditions that have made it impossible for some churches to obtain health care for their staff members. Insurance for church staffs may be not only available, but more affordable.

The Affordable Health Care Act, like any major program, has bugs that will need to be ironed out. Criticizing the plan’s weak points and trying to make it better is fair, but totally scrapping a program now more than three years old is more of an anti-Obama vendetta than a pro-American people strategy. The plan was designed and developed for the good of the American people — all of them — and even its critics should give it a chance before trying to wreck the country to prove a point.

I suspect they’re afraid that Obamacare will actually work and become widely popular despite their opposition, and they know that given a chance to prove itself, a successful Affordable Health Care Act may inspire voters to hand its critics an early retirement from government service.

Dear House of Representatives: please give the plan a chance and keep the country financially sound. For those of you who like to quote the Bible in your stump speeches, please read Deut. 15:11, Isa. 58:7, Matt. 25:31-45, Luke 4:17-19, and any number of other passages that challenge God’s people to care for the poor.

Obstinance is not a virtue.

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