It has been two years this week since the passage of Obamacare, and the firestorm it ignited has not abated but only spread and intensified. Most Americans have already made up their minds, understanding that until it is completely removed, the cancer of Obamacare threatens not only our healthcare and our economy but also our most fundamental liberties and constitutional self-government.
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on its constitutionality, bringing this intolerable act to the forefront of the American mind once again and reminding the country that the issue of Obamacare is by no means settled.
Nothing the Administration has done has made this law more palatable, quite the opposite, and none of the PR events the White House has planned for this week is likely to change people’s minds.
Nor will Obamacare likely be settled by the Supreme Court. As with such divisive questions in the past, this question will be settled by the American people who have throughout this failed episode signaled loud and clear that they want the whole monstrosity repealed once and for all.
In its short 24-month life, Obamacare has done nothing but confirm our worst fears, being a signal failure from the very beginning.
Obamacare promised to make healthcare more accessible and cheaper without increasing taxes or the deficit. If you liked your doctor, of course you could keep your doctor. No one would be made to do anything against their will. These promises have all been broken.
The law’s escalating regulations and costs weigh heavily on the businesses that fuel our economy, one of the reasons job creation has been so anemic and economic recovery has been lackluster. Obamacare is expected to force Americans to pay $99 billion more in taxes and penalties than originally anticipated. Families earning over $250,000 will get hit with a higher Medicare payroll tax.
And just last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that costs, originally pegged at $938 billion, have now risen to $1.76 trillion. Congressional Republicans estimate the tab to be $2.6 trillion. CBO also says that as many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-provided coverage because of Obamacare.
Turning to the individual mandate forcing all Americans to buy insurance, it quickly led to a revolt by a majority of states, who are now challenging the law before the Supreme Court. The Heritage Foundation weighed in on the issue and filed an amicus brief urging the Court to strike down the law. If government can regulate inactivity, it can do anything.
As Obamacare moves into its implementation phase, we are beginning to see more clearly where it is headed. A heavy-handed mandate for preventive services collides with religious liberty by ordering all insurance plans to cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization at no-cost to the insured. Religious groups serving the public will have to provide such coverage regardless of their religious beliefs and deep moral objections. Those who choose not to comply will face heavy fines that will divert resources from their work to serve the poor, elderly, and sick, if not cause them to leave this work entirely. Such disregard not only tramples our basic liberties but also makes it hard for religious institutions to continue their important work serving communities all across America.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. With each new requirement, Obamacare will make insurance more expensive, reduce flexibility and choice, and take away liberty.
Given this sorry record it is not surprising that Obamacare has been a political loser for its proponents. Starting with the elections of Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey in November 2009, then of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, of all places, two months later, and culminating in the watershed elections of November 2010, when the nation saw the biggest landslide in seven decades.
Today the legislation barely rates a mention in presidential speeches, the signature legislative achievement of President Obama’s first term having become an albatross around his neck.
The American people had the common sense to understand from the start that there is something more at issue when more than 150 federal agencies, bureaus and commissions have the authority to intervene in some of the most personal and private decisions of our lives.
Poll after poll continues to demonstrate that Obamacare is not supported by the American people. The reason is that it offends our principled and abiding attachment to liberty and self government, going to the heart of the relationship between citizen and state.
The only complete remedy is the full repeal of Obamacare in all of its aspects. Like so many, we encourage the Supreme Court to reject the law on constitutional grounds. But Congress must be prepared to finish the job. The ultimate responsibility, though, lies with the American people, who are the ones who elect their leaders. America needs real health care reform that increases access, built on the firm foundation of constitutional principle and the commitment to freedom that has sustained this nation since its founding.
Sixty-five years ago, in the days after their noble victory in World War II, the British people chose not the hero who had led them, Winston Churchill, but replaced his coalition with a socialist Labour Party that quickly brought forth their now-infamous National Health System. By no coincidence, the British government announced a year later it could no longer afford its strategic responsibilities in the post-war world, seemingly reconciled to a declining status.
This will not be our fate. Americans do not line up for instructions from Washington. By their good character and dedication to the principles of liberty, Americans will never resign themselves to being the wards of a bureaucratic state where all is subject to government control, regulatory dictate and administrative whim.
Obamacare is a cancer. We must not rest until we are rid of it.
Join our fight to remove this cancer from America. We cannot wait even one more day.
Thank you for all you do for our cause.
President, The Heritage Foundation