Public opinion polls have been particularly frustrating for the GOP and conservatives these days. While virtually every poll confirms the public distain for Obamacare, they also suggest that Republicans suffer most of the blame for the government shutdown. The apparent contradiction is bewildering, considering that it is the Republicans who are responding to the public concerns and Barack Obama and the Democrats who are ignoring their constituents, stubbornly refusing to negotiate any changes to Obamacare. Their zealous defense of that law is at least equally to blame for the stalled negotiations and the resulting government shutdown.
Most agree that the law is seriously flawed. It started out as a reasonable, perhaps even noble goal – affordable health care for every citizen. There are reportedly 30 million Americans, roughly 10 percent of our population, without health insurance. They are not all destitute or unemployed. Of those 10 percent, many are financially able to buy health insurance, but simply don’t want it. Democrats argue that health care is a “right” of every American, so they now require every citizen to purchase health insurance on the government’s terms. So much for citizen’s rights. While the number of truly needy individuals is exceedingly small, the Democrats’ solution, Obamacare, is wreaking havoc on the country. Every day we hear more accounts of outrageous premium increases, or loss of coverage for those who were relatively happy with their health insurance. We see the impact on the job market as employers from all sectors are forced to eliminate staff or reduce employees’ hours. We watch the President illegally tinkering with the original law for political gain, while refusing to negotiate with Republicans on that same law. We can only shake our heads in disgust as we watch that crown jewel of collectivism unveiled amidst complete chaos. Obamacare has become a joke without a punch line.
Democrats argue that Obamacare is the law of the land, passed by Congress and validated by the Supreme Court. It’s a clever argument, but ignores the fact that Democrats alone used their majority to pass the law by the narrowest of margins against the will of the American people, and only after several congressional members received special incentives, and only after the process of reconciliation was unscrupulously employed. They had not even read the bill, but they passed it anyway using deceptive promises and underhanded tactics. Their supporters see all of this as democracy in action.
And yes, the law was validated by the Supreme Court. But the final ruling came after Obama unethically used the Oval Office to influence the court. The scant one vote majority ruling came only after the deciding justice helped it along by redefining a key provision of the law, the insurance mandate.
Nonetheless, the Democrats are right on that issue. Obamacare is the law of the land, and was validated by the Supreme Court. But it is also the most overreaching, ill-conceived, poorly-planned, and unpopular law in recent history.
While they treat it like a sacred cow, passage of a law does not make it sacrosanct. Many other laws of the land have undergone significant changes through amendment or have been repealed. The lengthy list includes the Food and Fuel Act of 1917, the Immigration Act of 1924, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, and more recently, the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982. Of course, the best-known such law was the one that gave us prohibition, the Volstead Act of 1919. It was rendered unconstitutional in 1933.
Today, Republicans lack the political power to repeal Obamacare, but Congress does have the authority to deny funding for such a costly, onerous and unpopular law. And House Republicans are not being obstinate in their efforts. After trying to fund all of the government, excluding Obamacare, they offered other compromises that would help mitigate the effects of the law, including a delay of the individual mandate. Yet the Senate and the White House blocked all of their efforts. Because they lack the numbers, Republicans will likely be unsuccessful, but they are right to oppose this law wherever they can. They are doing something Democrats refuse to do. They are listening to their constituents. It is unfortunate – no, it’s disgraceful – that they are being penalized for representing the will of the people.
Many voters who originally supported Obamacare are now seeing its disastrous results and have reversed their positions. By November 2014, the shutdown will be long gone, but voters will still be suffering the effects of Obamacare. They will remember that it was Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress who conceived, delivered, and jealously guarded this white elephant known as Obamacare, and they will look to the Republican Party as the only hope of repealing it.
Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published on line and in print. He can be contacted at [email protected].