There’s every reason to believe that ObamaCare will ruin America’s fine health care system; weaken our already shaky economy; cause more people to go without health insurance; and is widely unpopular.
Even though most citizens seem quite uncertain of all its provisions, surveys repeatedly show that it is unpopular and grows more unpopular as the time for implementation of more of its provisions nears. And the law opens the door for — completely foreseeable — widespread abuse, some of which is already starting.
It passed without a single Republican vote. It is the Democrats’ baby and remains so because the party’s leaders refuse to acknowledge the need to substantially amend it. Probably because the same people who passed it without reading it, still haven’t bothered. But also because it includes enormous giveaways to themselves, the Democrats’ favorite constituencies, and donors while punishing those not within that growing class. (The drafters accidentally forgot to add labor unions to the list of exempted cronies, but now that AFL-CIO President Trumka bellowed about it, the Administration seems to be working behind the scenes to correct that oversight.)
Investors Business Daily lists some of the already apparent flaws in the law:
IBD has been cataloguing businesses, public institutions and local governments that have cut jobs or worker hours specifically citing ObamaCare. That list now exceeds 250.
Other companies are cutting benefits for part-time workers, spouses, early retirees or their entire workforce, because of ObamaCare. Every one of those workers has a good reason to want the law killed.
On top of this, the public may be noticing the growing pile of ObamaCare’s broken promises. Among them:
• Family premiums haven’t gone down by $2,500 annually, as Obama repeatedly said they would. They’ve gone up $2,976.
• Workers are increasingly finding that they can’t keep the health plans they like, despite Obama’s pledge that they can.
• ObamaCare is adding to federal budget deficits, as IBD recently reported, even though Obama claimed it would cut red ink.
• The law is hurting small businesses, not helping them.
The public even might have noticed that Obama himself has shown the law to be seriously flawed.
According to the Congressional Research Service, he repealed, changed, or delayed pieces of ObamaCare 19 times. That includes the employer mandate, the verification rules, the limit on out-of-pocket costs, and the ability for workers at small companies to have a choice of plans in the exchanges.
None of this has anything to do with Republican propaganda.
Neither is Obama’s oft-repeated claim true that Republicans have no alternative to ObamaCare. This week, conservative lawmakers introduced a package of reforms they’ve long advocated that would cut health costs, make insurance more affordable, and protect those with pre-existing conditions.
The public’s dislike of ObamaCare is real, and it is well-deserved. Now it’s up to Republicans to seize on this and stop the law before it can live down to their expectations.
Democrats believe that as the Republicans hold a majority only in the House of Representatives they have not much more power than they did when the Democrats pulled a number of tricks, relying on their majority in both Houses of Congress to ram this bill down our throats. Their friends in the press are already tooling up their arguments why a Republican refusal to fund a “clean continuing resolution” to keep the U.S. debt rolling and the government in operation would be all the Republicans fault and would cost them dearly as it did when Newt Gingrich led a rebellion years ago.
In truth, the Republicans have not many options. On Friday they played their first card: they passed an ObamaCare-free continuing resolution to keep the government going.
House Republicans passed their stopgap funding bill Friday to keep government open while terminating the new health care law, setting up a final showdown next week with Senate Democrats and President Obama who have firmly rejected the GOP approach.
The 230-189 vote, which split almost exactly along party lines, is the precursor to the big action next week, when the Democratic majority in the Senate is expected to strip out the health care provisions and send the bill back to the House — where Republicans will have to decide whether they can accept it at that point.
All sides are racing to beat a Sept. 30 deadline, which is when current funding for the federal government runs out. The new measure would fund the government through Dec. 15, essentially at last year’s levels, and would leave the budget sequester cuts in place.
Senator Reid is expected to play his first move. He will send back to the House their bill from which the Senate will excise the language defunding ObamaCare. Some have suggested that the Republicans can mount a filibuster in the senate to stop Reid, but that doesn’t seem likely given the Senate rules as Senator Cruz, a major ObamaCare opponent has cautioned.
Roll Call explains the parliamentary tap dance at Reid’s disposal:
If the House sends over the continuing resolution to keep the government running past Sept. 30 as currently envisioned, there’s a procedural method by which Reid could hold a debate limiting vote on the bill before stripping out the House language that would defund the 2010 health care law.
That means at the point Democrats need GOP votes to overcome a filibuster threat, any Republican senator casting a “yes” vote on a motion to invoke cloture, and thus limiting debate, will still be voting on a bill that would cut off money for ObamaCare.
After cloture is invoked with at least 60 votes, any pending amendments that are germane to the underlying measure (such as one to strike part of the text) automatically get votes at the end of 30 hours of debate — with simple majority thresholds for adoption. [“Rule XXII] [snip] At that point, the vote to pass the bill and send it back to the House would only need Democratic votes. Both Cruz and Lee have said that the real fight would take place when the amended bill returns to the House.
“There is a difference between a vote and a victory, and we have to remember that this will not be either won or lost with a single legislative volley from one side of the Capitol to the other,” Lee said on Fox News. “This, like so many other legislative debates, might well take several volleys between House and Senate.”
Of course, each volley takes time and moves the calendar closer to the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. If Congress doesn’t pass something to keep the government funded before then, a shutdown will ensue.
When the bill returns to the House it will go to a conference committee of Senate and House members to work out the difference. At that point my suggestion (which I titled “one weird trick” because advertisers claim it gets readers’ attention and I want yours) is to insist that (a) all exemptions from the coverage of the act, including House and Senate members and staff, favored donors, and other cronies be scrapped. We are all covered or none are; and (b) given the huge amounts of fraud already rampant within the Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamp entitlement programs, no subsidies will be given out absent proof of identity and income verification. (The government will be relying on the “honor system” for income representations and about 2 weeks from launch cannot still put in place a computer system to correctly calculate subsidies.)
If the Democrats refuse to agree to these provisos, it seems to me the public debate — if the Republicans can muster any sort of decent response — is not evil Republicans shutting down the government but rather, the Democrats are so committed to increase fraud and favoritism to their supporters and donors that THEY’D shut down the government to keep that graft and privilege alive.
Democrats already suffered a credibility loss when earlier they claimed the sequester would limit critical services. It didn’t. In fact, it didn’t even cut out utterly stupid government waste like the National Park Services’ paying for three videos promoting the notion that Islam advances women’s rights. One might suspect that someone was being paid off for campaign services (a common payoff scheme), or perhaps that the widespread sprinkling of Moslem Brotherhood officials in the federal apparatus extends to the Park Service, but in any event, using federal funds to promote a religion seems — well — not kosher. But the videos are there. See for yourself. You paid for them.