02.09.2015 1

Obamacare fatigue: Why repeal still matters

By Bill Wilson

Type “Obamacare” into any Internet search engine and in less than a third of a No Obamacaresecond — faster than the snap of your fingers — tens of millions of results will bombard you.  Within these pages are literally billions of words addressing the law and its attendant issues — including the few hundred words contained herein.  It’s a lot to take in — and with nearly a decade’s worth of history surrounding the legislation already in the books, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that America is suffering from “Obamacare fatigue.”

Moreover, moving forward most believe that with one party controlling the White House and another party controlling Congress, the status quo will hold no matter what happens.  But this is no time for Obamacare opponents to lose faith — or focus.  This month the bill’s namesake — President Barack Obama — submitted a $4 trillion budget aiming to further explode our government’s $18.1 trillion debt, and Obamacare was at the heart of it.

In addition, the law’s onerous individual mandate is wreaking havoc this tax season — threatening to deprive up to six million Americans of one percent of their annual income (a penalty which will double to two percent next year).

Meanwhile, there is a looming U.S. Supreme Court decision on the enforceability of Obamacare’s subsidies via the federal exchanges in states that refused to participate in administering the law, all of which will be of critical importance to the long-term economic well-being of our country.

So, how did we get here?  How bad are things?  And how do we fix them?  These are the central questions often ignored amidst the noise over the law.

Nine years ago Barack Obama — a year into his first term in the U.S. Senate — addressed the Newspaper Association of America’s 2006 convention in Washington, D.C.  This was before the term “Obamacare” had even appeared in print for the first time (in a March 2007 industry journal written by health care lobbyist Jeanne Schulte Scott).

“My argument to Democrats has been that we need to cling to the core values that make us Democrats, the belief in universal health care, the belief in universal education, and then we should be agnostic in terms of how to achieve those values,” Obama said at the time.

A year later, Obama — a newly minted presidential candidate — rolled out his plan, declaring “the time has come for universal health care in America.”

Five years ago — using every manipulation under the sun and every ounce of his political capital — Obama successfully rammed his signature socialized medicine law through a Democrat-controlled Congress.  Later we would learn from Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber that the bill was “written in a tortured way” so as to ensure its mandates would not be scored as tax increases, and that “the stupidity of the American voter (was) … really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

We would also learn from the U.S. Supreme Court that the mandate was in fact a “tax” — and later from Obama himself that the law’s “if you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it” promise was a deliberate falsehood.

Four years ago, the Republican-controlled U.S. House — elected on the strength of an anti-Obamacare wave — passed its first repeal of the hated legislation.  This week, the House repealed Obamacare again — and is sending its bill (along with a blueprint to replace the law) to the U.S. Senate, which is under Republican control for the first time in eight years.

How high are the stakes?

A study released last month by The Commonwealth Fund revealed the average insurance premium now consumes 28 percent of median income — or roughly $16,000 a year.  And it projects an “uptick” in this percentage for 2015.  Meanwhile a whopping 93 million working-age Americans are currently out of the labor force — and new data shows U.S. businesses are dying faster than they can be created (for the first time ever).

What is the most important thing Congress can do to create lower premiums, higher incomes, more jobs and expanded economic activity?  Eliminate Obamacare’s taxes, subsidies, and mandates.

That’s why repeal still matters — and why Obamacare’s opponents need to recognize that there is no rest for the weary.  And no room for tinkering around the edges, no compromise.  There are no acceptable half-measures.  Keep fighting until this offensive abomination is repealed in full.

Bill Wilson is a Board Member of Americans for Limited Government.

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