This column by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara was published September 18, 2013 on Forbes.com.
Obamacare has not even gone into effect yet, and there it lies substantively smashed on the floor in ruins. The cost of health insurance on the Obamacare Exchanges for next year is already soaring, for those states that will have Obamacare Exchanges opening on October 1. Obamacare also already promises to limit access to health care for those with Obamacare health insurance next year, meaning you won’t have the same access to the same doctors and hospitals that you have with health insurance today.
Thought Obama promised if you like your doctor you can keep him? Haha, sucker, sue him!
To evade the high costs of the employer mandate to buy for their workers next year the health insurance that Kathleen Sebelius says they must buy, employers across the country have constricted hiring, with many stopping altogether. Millions of other workers across the country are finding their job opportunities limited to part-time work, to which Obamacare does not apply. Most if not all net new jobs these days in the land of the former American Dream are in fact part-time jobs, thanks to Obamacare. Middle class incomes have been falling continuously since Obama has been President, and with the rise of this new part-time Obamajob trend, this is only going to get worse, not better, President Obama’s soaring rhetoric on behalf of the middle class to the contrary notwithstanding.
And wait till next year, when tens of millions find themselves losing their employer provided health insurance. UPS has already announced that health benefits for spouses of employees are bye-bye next year. And already millions with their own individual insurance have been greeted at their mailboxes with termination letters from their shrinking and withdrawing insurers. You thought Obama promised if you like your health plan you can keep it? Haha, sucker, get in line to sue him.
All those terminations of the currently covered will mean exploding costs for Obamacare beyond any CBO projections when those Democrat Congressional suckers passed it in 2010.
As a result, even Obama’s liberal base has started to turn against Obamacare. Unions that actually represent working people in the real world have begun speaking out against the Obamacare fiasco cutting their jobs, incomes, and benefits.
Defiant Obama on the Attack
But on Monday, there was a defiant Obama still on the attack over Obamacare. He said, “A lot of the, you know, horror stories that were predicted about how this was going to shoot rates way up and there were going to be death panels and all that stuff, none of that stuff’s happened.” You could just see the President chuckling in the back of his head, haha, those stupid Homer Simpsons out there don’t even know that Obamacare has not even gone into effect yet. They also don’t even read liberals like Paul Krugman who has already called for death panels under Obamacare to control costs.
But Obama continued on Monday, “So repealing the Affordable Care Act, making sure that 30 million people don’t get health insurance and people with pre-existing conditions continue to be locked out of the health insurance market, that’s not an agenda for economic growth.” He didn’t mention that CBO projects that Obamacare will leave 30 million uninsured, 10 years after implementation! And CBO didn’t take into account all those terminated from current coverage. For liberals who thought Obamacare meant universal health coverage, haha, sucker, you can get in line to sue him too. You probably thought electing a Marxist as President would mean inequality would go down rather than up, too. As Bugs Bunny might say, hahaha, what a maroon!
Obama even bragged on Monday that under Obamacare, “Health care costs are growing at their slowest rate in 50 years,” and that his namesake socialized medicine plan “has helped to keep down the rise in health care costs to their lowest level in 50 years.” What a miracle, given again that Obamacare has not even gone into effect yet.
By sharp contrast, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were enacted into law in December, 2003. The slowdown in rising health costs first shows up meaningfully in the data in mid-2005, when Mr. Obama was still in the Illinois state legislature. Participation in HSAs has been growing at double digits every year since then.
National health spending growth slowed to 3.9% each year from 2009 to 2011, the slowest rate of increase since the 1960s (which was the last time the government role in health care exploded). But all that Obamacare, passed in 2010, did during that time was contribute to increased health costs.
But Obama went on to taunt Republicans on Obamacare: “I’m more than willing to work with them where they’ve got specific suggestions that they can show will make our health care system work better. But remember, initially this was like repeal and replace, and the replace thing has kind of gone off to the wayside. Now it’s just repeal.” Shame on us, actually.
Lost in the Woods
Both conservatives and Republicans have left on the shelf a replace-Obamacare plan that unlike Obamacare actually would assure health care for all (including all those with pre-existing conditions), with no individual mandate, no employer mandate, while making the government far smaller, with sharply reduced taxes, spending, and regulation, and Health Savings Accounts available to everyone, to actually reduce costs, again unlike Obamacare.
But as the Wall Street Journal explained yesterday, some conservatives and Republicans are lost in the woods instead: “The current Continuing Resolution (CR) [to fund the government, without an actual budget] runs out at the end of the month, and about 40 to 50 House Republicans (out of 233) want to attach a rider that either delays or defunds the Affordable Care Act for a year and leaves everything else running.”
Avik Roy further explained on Monday: “However, there’s a larger faction of conservatives who see this as a reckless and destructive strategy. After all, the chances that President Obama will agree to defund his signature achievement are zero, whereas the chances that the public would punish Republicans for shutting down the government are, shall we say, non-zero.”
The Wall Street Journal was even more blunt yesterday:
The problem is that Mr. Obama is never, ever going to unwind his signature legacy project of national health care. Ideology aside, it would end his Presidency politically. And if Republicans insist that any spending bill must defund Obamacare, then a showdown is inevitable that shuts down much of the government. Republicans will claim that Democrats are the ones shutting it down to preserve Obamacare. Voters may see it differently given the media’s liberal sympathies and because the repeal-or-bust crowd provoked the confrontation.
The top priority on the CR actually should be to defend the enormous victory the GOP has already won on spending over the last two years, after their House majority was elected in 2010 to shut down Obama’s out of control leftism. Total federal spending peaked in fiscal year 2011 at $3.6 trillion. But in fiscal 2012, total federal spending in actual dollars declined (which almost never happens) to $3.537 trillion. Now it is on track to decline again for fiscal 2013 (which ends in two weeks) to $3.45 trillion. As Steve Moore reported in the Wall Street Journal on August 12, this “$150 billion budget decline of 4% is the first time that federal expenditures have fallen for two consecutive years since the end of the Korean War.” Moore adds, “these are real cuts, not pixie dust reductions off some sham baseline.”
Moore also explained how this happened:
This reversal from the spending binge in 2009 and 2010 began with the debt-ceiling agreement between Mr. Obama and House Speaker John Boehner in 2011. The agreement set $2 trillion in tight caps on spending over a decade and created this year’s budget sequester, which will save more than $50 billion in fiscal 2013.
So, naturally, what Obama and the Democrats are demanding on the CR is to reverse all this progress, which has resulted in a rapidly declining deficit as well. They are demanding repeal of the enormously successful sequester, replacing it with yet another tax increase! Those policies were actually in the Democrat budget passed by the Senate this year. Obama has even said that if the sequester spending cuts are not reversed and replaced with a tax increase, he will shut down the government.
This frames the issue disastrously for Obama and the Democrats. If the government is shut down because Obama and his Ds insist on busting the highly effective budget caps and sequester, returning to runaway spending, and financing it with yet another tax increase, the public will back the Republicans and the conservatives in that fight, and it would be a huge blow to Obama and the Ds.
But if Republicans change the issue over the CR to defunding Obamacare, the public will blame them for the ensuing shutdown. The biggest risk is that Obama and the Ds will then insist privately that the Republicans must then concede on the Democrat sequester and tax increase demands to reopen the government.
Roy explained on Monday that the House GOP Leadership came up with a much better plan. Pass a CR that funds the government, including Obamacare, with the spending cuts from the sequester and the budget caps in place. Then pass an amendment to the CR to defund Obamacare. The Senate would then have to take a vote on defunding Obamacare to remove that amendment. But the sequester and the budget caps would still be in place, and the Senate would have to take a highly public vote to repeal and replace those with still another tax increase.
But as the Journal editorialized yesterday, “pressure groups like Heritage Action and Club for Growth rebelled and the vote [on the House Leadership plan] had to be postponed, like so many other unforced retreats this Congress.” It characterized the Heritage Action/Club for Growth approach on the CR in these words: “Republicans must threaten to crash their Zeros into the aircraft carrier of Obamacare. Their demand is that the House pair the ‘must pass’ CR or the debt limit with defunding the health care bill. Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots.”
Roy added that according to Heritage Action, the GOP Leadership Plan was “a legislative gimmick designed to provide political cover to those who are unwilling to defund Obamacare…. It is our expectation that no conservative in Congress will try to deceive their constituents by going along with this cynical ploy.” This language grossly misrepresents and wrongly maligns the promising GOP Leadership CR plan. Obamacare, remember, passed without a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate, and the Republican majority House has voted to repeal it since then 40 times. Talk of Republicans “unwilling to defund Obamacare” trying “to deceive their constituents” with a “cynical ploy” is misleading mythology.
As Brian Walsh, a former staffer to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) explained in U.S. News and World Report:
The Senate Conservatives Fund and Heritage Action… have spent more money so far on attack ads this year against House and Senate Republicans than the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee and Democrat National Committee combined. All the while, virtually every Senate Democrat up for reelection in 2014… has been given a free pass by these groups.
This is no way to defeat what is in reality an ongoing Marxist takeover of America, through the Democrat Party, which has always been soft on left wing extremism.
Victory Through the Free Market Patient Power Replacement Plan
The House Leadership may have been forced to retreat by now to a vote on a simple defund Obamacare CR, as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth have demanded. If so, judge them on the results they achieve, and direct your support accordingly.
But the real road to victory is to focus the CR on defending the enormous victory over spending and taxes already won through the sequester and the budget caps. Obama has misread the public on that, and misled the Democrats on it, all year. It couldn’t be more foolish for us to play games with that now, and risk snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Moreover, the road to final victory over Obamacare is through the free market, Patient Power replacement legislation mentioned above. If the entire House passes that plan, matching a vast net tax cut repealing the Obamacare tax increases, with a vast net spending cut repealing the Obamacare spending, with vastly reduced federal regulation, while assuring heath care for all, and actually reduced health costs through proven Health Savings Accounts, the American people will cheer their vast approval. That will consign not only Obamacare, but the entire Obama Administration legacy and historical perception, to the dust bin of history out of which it crawled.