07.31.2013 23

Defund Obamacare or bust

By Robert Romano

“If success depends on convincing senators in the Republican cloakroom, it will not work because far too many are afraid of the electoral consequences.”

That was Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) take on a Senate Republican push to defund the health care law before it fully goes into effect in 2014. The legislation will cost $710 billion from through 2019 alone, including a massive expansion of Medicaid and insurance subsidies via the state exchanges.

By the time it is fully implemented, it will cost taxpayers more than $2 trillion — every decade. But, the taxpayers won’t have enough to cover the entitlement, so it will be borrowed, at interest, for perpetuity.

Yet the true cost will be felt by millions of Americans caught in the individual mandate compelling the purchase of health insurance they can no longer afford. It will be felt by those unable to find full-time work because the law compels businesses to slash hours below 30 a week to avoid the employer mandate.

It will be felt by hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people with tens of thousands of student loan debt who will not qualify for Medicaid and will be forced to pay fines under the individual mandate.

That is why Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has joined with Cruz recently starting the DontFundIt.com website to gather signatures from regular Americans to demand that Congress act to gut the law by cutting off its funds.

The push would stop implementation by prohibiting funds to be used by agencies and departments in implementing the law’s provisions, and by amending the existing statute to roll back the expansion of Medicaid and the introduction of insurance subsidies under the exchanges.

But the only way it will work is if House and Senate Republicans insist on attaching such a measure to must-pass legislation such as the continuing resolution or the debt ceiling. In their letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Lee and Cruz warn they “will not support any continuing resolution or appropriations legislation that funds further implementation or enforcement of Obamacare.”

For some reason, however, this effort is not being supported by Senate or House Republican leadership. Whatever their good intentions in attempting to repeal the law, they appear more than willing to fund it.

The GOP establishment is being cheered on by the likes of Karl Rove, Larry Kudlow, and Bloomberg.com contributor and National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru. Perhaps they just believe the strategy will not work. In a Bloomberg column, Ponnuru blasts the Lee-Cruz plan as being futile.

“The chance that Democrats would go along — would give up on their signature legislative initiative of the last decade soon after having won the presidential election and gained Senate and House seats — approaches zero percent,” Ponnuru wrote.

Of course, he ignores the recent history of government shutdowns and debt ceiling standoffs. When House Speaker Newt Gingrich used government shutdowns in the 1990s, the result was balanced budgets.

When House Speaker John Boehner used the debt ceiling in 2011 to extract spending cuts from the Obama Administration, the result was sequestration.

When President Ronald Reagan and Congressional Democrats could not agree on a budget in 1981, a brief government shutdown resulted in a compromise that cut spending around the edges.

One finds a track record of remarkable success in favor of the government shutdown model to actually achieving reform in Washington, D.C.  And one finds absolutely no success in the model apparently preferred by Ponnuru, which is to do nothing. He believes that should Republicans roll back Obamacare, they have to “replace” it with some other big government scheme, as if the private health system that was in place just a few short years ago was an untenable alternative.

Yet, Ponnuru believes Republicans will lose a shutdown battle: “First, Republicans are less popular than the Democrats and thus all else equal will lose partisan finger-pointing contests. Second, the executive has natural advantages over a group of legislators in a crisis atmosphere. Third, people will be naturally inclined to assume that the more anti-government party must be responsible. Fourth, some Republicans will say that government shutdowns or defaults are just what the country needs, and those quotes will affect the image of all Republicans. And fifth, the news media will surely side with the Democrats.”

In short, Republicans will face electoral consequences in 2014 if they shut down the government to defund Obamacare. But even if that were true, the odds of achieving something significant on rolling back the health care law shoot up dramatically with a shutdown. If they do nothing, nothing will assuredly be the outcome.

At some point this minimalist approach to governing favored by Republicans, Ponnuru, et al. no longer is “do no harm” — it borders on pure cowardice. It winds up being “do no good,” a complete unwillingness to fight for anything.

With leaders like these, Obamcare will become as permanent as every other government program Republicans swore they opposed and then did nothing to get rid of. The Lee-Cruz strategy may be the only way.

So, it’s defund Obamacare, or bust.

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.

  • MM59

    The De-Fund Obamacare effort is futile. Bachman tried it in the house, immediately after it was passed, and no one supported her.

    The question I have is why Lee, Cruz and others are not calling out the fact that the President and this administration have NO legal right to delay the employer mandate. Obamacare does not give them that authority. Only Congress can change the implementation date. This is the fight they should be leading.

    They should haul Sebelius a@@ before hearings, she is lying. This has nothing to do with “reporting” and everything to do with costs.

    They need to stand for the Constitution, not play games with funding. Stop the President and its administration from taking power that the Constitution does not give them. That is the proper fight that should be playing out right now.

  • MilitaryVeteran

    FY 2014 budget should be the first focus – 50% reduction in all executive departments/agencies – except for DoD. No new debt ceiling – period.
    The budget should eliminate support for Obamacare – but many other programs that are so far outside the Constitutional mandate that it should be obvious even to the low-information Members of Congress. The bloated federal bureaucracy – the largest employer in America – needs a serious reduction by 50%. Eliminate the IRS and establish an agency with 10% of the budget to administer tax collection. SSA? cut it in have and restore the SS fund to where it should be before the Democrats stole it. Abolish the Department of (No) Energy. Abolish HUD. Abolish HHS. A cabinet officer can be supported with less than 100 personnel for each of these cesspools.
    And for FY 2015? Start into the cuts again. No Constitutional mandate – no funding. Congress should link Constitutional authority to every action and funding initiative taken.

  • MilitaryVeteran

    The citizenry should demand the Speaker of the House show some courage and have multiple committee chairs issue subpoenas for these criminal liars in the Administration to appear on the Hill – and THEN start the articles of impeachment on each of them.

  • tim


  • Robert J. Romano

    It is not futile. By attaching a defund Obamacare provision to a continuing resolution in the House, it leaves the Senate and White House with two options. Either, they shut down the government for the remainder of Obama’s second term, or they compromise and significantly roll back the law. It’s a win-win.

  • MM59

    Agreed. The speaker, though, has shown his true colors. His allegiance is to the globalists not his constituents.

    I have started an effort here in Sarasota Florida to get people to de-register from these globalist parties – both Democrats and Republicans. I know you will say – what about the primaries? To that I say if you review the 2012 elections you will see that we really get no vote in the primaries. We always get what the corrupt establishment wants. Romney is a good example.

    De-register today and send Boehner, et al a very LOUD message. We no longer stand behind you. Support independent candidates, stop supporting the establishment.

    If you look at your state registration you will find that the no party affiliation/independent registration is very close to that of the D’s and R’s. It only needs about 10% to make the independents the dominant party. Also, see what some of our founding fathers had to say about political parties here http://www.newswithviews.com/Bradlee/dean130.htm

  • MM59

    First always remember history. 1994. Do you remember it?

    Second understand Obamacare – it is designed to bring down the system. You can’t add all these benefits – preventive visits, no co-pays, significant add’l benefits, etc. without adding significant increases to the premiums. Those increases are making it unaffordable to most Americans not covered by govt or big Fortune 500 plans. (It is also making it unaffordable for govt funded health care plans). This is coming out and being discovered by all. All the republicans are doing through this stupid de-fund mantra is giving cover to those that supported and voted for Obamacare by stopping the people from feeling the pain of Obamacare. This is stupid. It is better to let the pain happen so folks know the reform is a disaster and the promises made to them will not happen – they were lied to.

    Let the people see the premium costs in October when the exchanges are suppose to be up and running. By December, the democrats, after getting a zillion angry calls from the people, will be begging to repeal the law because they will fear not being elected in Nov 2014.

  • MM59

    I agree with most of what you written, except no cuts to DOD.

    i believe in a strong defense, but you need to do your homework on the DOD budget. Google the historical budget tables of the US govt and also the annual audited financial statements. And while you are at google Operations Northwood – it is on the gwu national archives site.

    In 1994 Congress passed a law requiring all govt agencies to produce GAAP based audited financial statements by 1997. In the 17 years since audited financial statements have been required, the US consolidated statements have received a “disclaimer” – the auditors can not provide an opinion that they are reasonably stated. The DOD is the culprit. It can not properly account for the money and has a list of material weaknesses several pages long.

    You will also find the significant increases in money is not going to our military personnel. God knows where it is going. The DOD budget needs to be examined with a fine tooth comb. They must be held accountable for the money they are given.

    We need to get them (our military men and women) out of all these countries (Uganda, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.) and bring them home. We fight Al Qaeda in Iraq and then fund them in Syria. This is insanity.




    >>>>>>>>>>>>>> DEFUND OBAMA <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

  • MM59

    Just in today

    Al-Qaeda Backers Found With U.S. Contracts in Afghanistan

    Supporters of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan have been getting U.S. military contracts, and American officials are citing “due process rights” as a reason not to cancel the agreements, according to an independent agency monitoring spending.

    The U.S. Army Suspension and Debarment Office has declined
    to act in 43 such cases, John Sopko, the Special Inspector
    General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said today in a letter
    accompanying a quarterly report to Congress.

    “I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue,
    attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that
    some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract,” Sopko said.

    The 236-page report and Sopko’s summary provide one of the
    watchdog agency’s most critical appraisals of U.S. performance
    in helping to build a stable Afghanistan as the Pentagon
    prepares to withdraw combat troops by the end of next year.

    “There appears to be a growing gap between the policy
    objectives of Washington and the reality of achieving them in
    Afghanistan, especially when the government must hire and
    oversee contractors to perform its mission,” said Sopko, whose
    post was mandated by Congress.

    The Pentagon is scheduled to deliver its own Afghanistan
    status report to Congress today. Its appraisal, which is months
    late, will outline progress from October 2012 through March and
    concerns that deal with handing over security operations to the
    Afghan military.

    Maintaining Oversight

    The U.S. has 60,000 troops in Afghanistan, with plans to
    reduce the number to 34,000 by February. President Barack Obama hasn’t decided how many to keep in the country after 2014 to train Afghan forces and engage in anti-terrorist missions.

    Sopko expressed pessimism that the U.S. can maintain
    effective oversight of billions of dollars in reconstruction
    spending as forces are withdrawn. The Obama administration has
    requested $10.7 billion in such funding for fiscal 2014 to cover
    projects from improving local government to building roads and

    “Unless the U.S. government improves its contract-oversight policies and practices, far too much will be wasted,”
    Sopko wrote.

    According to the report, Sopko’s agency “has found it
    impossible to confirm” the number of contracts awarded in a $32
    million program to install barricades, bars or gratings in
    culverts at about 2,500 Afghan locations to prevent insurgents
    from placing roadside bombs. The explosives are the biggest
    killer of U.S. and Afghan troops.

    continue reading here http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-30/al-qaeda-backers-found-with-u-s-contracts-in-afghanistan.html

  • MilitaryVeteran

    Having some experience with the Pentagon budget process and seeing the results – I share your desire to cut DoD dollars. However, the priority should be with the non-DoD budget this year. National defense deserves a deep review and budget shaping that cannot be achieved this year. The US military is reeling from Obama’s show-case military cuts. All the Armed Services are cutting operational forces and operations now for Obama’s politically implemented Sequester – and it is hurting national defense. Unfortunately, the Hill is not focused on THAT FACT. Lets get the prioritization of the budget cuts oriented this year on the simply recognition that national defense is a Constitutional mandate – and the rest of this crap is not.

  • MilitaryVeteran


  • MilitaryVeteran

    Just keep in mind that the Department of State has a very strong influence on what looks like military contracting in theater. The Obama-ites are pulling the strings in every Executive Branch department and agency. Follow the money and find the Obama appointee – stuffing money in his or her pockets.

  • MilitaryVeteran

    I would very much like to agree with you, Mr. Romano. Indeed, that is how it should develop. Unfortunately, Obama and his cronies have the Press in there pocket. The Press is just an extension of the Administration. The same Press is lying everyday to Americans. ABC just manipulated the outspoken jury member’s interview regarding the Zimmerman case. The examples are endless. If you are on campus – you friends are probably relying on MSNBC for their online and TV news sources. It is the THIRD OPTION that the Obama Administration and their allies on the Hill will take. LIE! LIE! and . . .LIE! The low-information voters will again accept it.
    Having said that – I advocate shutting down the US Government until things get so bad that the might just have a chance.

  • MM59

    Just a reminder – “We the People” voted for:
    Obama – twice
    Pelosi – God knows how many times
    Boehner – see Pelosi
    McCann – see pelosi

    Reid – see pelosi
    Graham – see Pelosi
    and the list goes on.

    Americans are so dumbed down through our education system, fluoride in the water, GMO foods, etc and so distracted by facebook, the Yankees, the newest i-phone and twitter to care less.

    There was a video posted a few days ago where people actually signed a petition to perform euthanasia on senior citizens to keep healthcare costs down!

    This defund Obamacare is a trap and the republicans are purposely going to walk right into it.

    Focus on the illegality of the President moving the employer mandate date – that is where the discussion and efforts should be. You might just get a chance to re-educate the “people” on the constitution.

  • MM59

    I have 30 years of budget experience. No sacred cows, everything on the table now.

    Maybe we can transfer some bullets and machinery from the DHS warehouses to the Army to help out national defense and better protect the American people.

    There is no Constitutional mandate to supply arms to Syrian rebels, which are really Al Qaeda, which we are opposing elsewhere.

  • 1UnimpressedPragmatist1776

    The whole problem with the entire Obama/Democrat agenda is that there are very
    few Republicans in either house of congress who have the gonads to stand up
    against the Washington Democrat machine. Like John McCain and Lindsey Graham,
    most Republicans in Congress are more concerned with their electability among
    black and Hispanic voters than they are with doing the work their
    constituencies sent them to Washington to accomplish. Additionally, they lack the
    courage of their convictions because they have no convictions except enhancing
    their personal desires and power.

    Rush Limbaugh is correct when he says a third party would, just, elect more
    Democrats and fewer Republicans. What the conservative movement must
    concentrate on is removing and replacing the current ineffectual Republicans in
    both houses with dedicated conservatives who wear the banner of the Republican
    Party but do not respect or adhere to the weak weasels of the Republican leadership.

    If the conservatives do not make a huge impression in
    the 2014 elections, Obamacare and the rest of the Democrat socialist agenda
    will destroy this precious commodity we call liberty.


  • Gail2012

    WOW. I think it’s time we all MARCH on Washington D.C. & tell them to pay us $5,000.00 per month rather than spend all this money trillions of dollars & no jobs< no economy. I mean if you can find a decent job outside of being a professional teacher or government worker if not you have to get food stamps. You get about $4.50 per person per day that's about $136.50 a month per person.Then if you are on unemployment that runs less than $900.00 a month

  • Gail2012

    AT $2 TRILLION DOLLARS they should be like F— You & your obamacare.
    You have all but destroyed this country so lets just DE -FUND it what’s the worst that can happen we loose in 2014. OH! CAUSE IF WE FUND IT WE’RE GOING TO LOOSE ANYWAY!

  • RRH

    In your article you stated ” as if the private health system that was in place just a few short years ago was an untenable alternative.”

    The current health care system is an untenable system and only works well for the rich. Most others are unable to pay the extremely high costs associated with quality care and the ever increasing cost of health insurance. This was going on long before “Obamacare” so don’t blame it on that. When my income goes up 1%, inflation is between 1-2% how can my health insurance go up 20%? The system is broken and needs a major overhaul. The opponents of “Obamacare” would have alot more validity if they but forth a better plan (not just vague promises) instead of just talking about doing away with “Obamacare” The current system isn’t an option.

  • Robert

    The government broke the system back in 1965 when it injected itself into the health care market with Medicare and Medicaid. It used to be that you could get a house call from a doctor for about $20 total before the government involved itself in the market. Now good luck finding a doctor who will do a house call, and $20 is more likely your co-pay and just a fraction of the real cost. We can actually learn something from the Chinese when it comes to health care. Many of their doctors have just a bachelor’s degree in medicine and competently treat the common, minor ailments. The more highly educated and trained doctors serve only the more serious cases. Compare that with our system where you pretty much have to get a PhD in medicine and the better part of a decade of training, minimum, and get the permission of your competitors to practice, before you can so much as treat a child’s sniffles. Let anyone with education and training in medicine practice medicine lawfully, and watch the new doctors take the cases they know how to treat, relieving their more highly trained colleagues of the minor cases, freeing them to spend more time treating the more serious cases they were trained for. And with more competition in the market, watch costs, and prices, come down.

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