The government shutdown has been the product of the Democrats’ refusal to back down from a most unpopular bit of legislation, their savior-president’s signature law, the rosy-titled Affordable Care Act.
Every poll taken before the passage of the bill more commonly known as Obamacare has shown that a majority of Americans were opposed to it. Americans realized that the near-socialization of their health care would be terrible for health care, terrible for the economy and terrible for their freedom.
Nevertheless, the Democrats fought on, urging us to just trust them: no taxes would be increased, the quality of health care would improve, health care would be cheaper and the economy would suffer no ill effects. Legislated magic!
However, the American people continued to voice their displeasure, opposing the bill at town hall meetings, at rallies, and in letters and phone calls to their representatives in Congress.
But the Democrats would not be stopped. They determined to pass the bill, even on a strict party-line vote.
But they had one problem: They only had 59 votes in the Senate, one short of the number they needed. They had lost a seat in the bluest of blue states, Massachusetts, in one of those rare elections that really was about only a single issue. Scott Brown promised he’d be the 41st vote against Obamacare, and Bay Staters gave him the seat formerly belonging to Ted Kennedy, a liberal lion who had long championed socialized health care.
Undeterred, Democrats used the reconciliation process — which was never intended to pass anything other than a budget bill — to circumvent the requirement of 60 votes needed to proceed to a floor vote on Obamacare. Finally, they had their dream.
Sure, it might have been ugly; sure, they may have improperly used procedural tricks; and sure, they may have told a white lie or two (this was affirmed after the Supreme Court did in fact declare that the individual mandate was a tax — the only way it could pass constitutional muster), but hey, that’s politics.
Nancy Pelosi infamously said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” And once the bill was passed and the implementation date drew nearer, Americans began to find out more and more about what was in it. And more and more, they didn’t like what they saw.
First, numerous businesses sought and received temporary waivers from certain requirements on employer health-insurance plans. Later, the White House unilaterally — and perhaps unconstitutionally — decided to delay the employer mandate’s implementation by a year. Then, severe glitches marred the opening of insurance exchanges.
And throughout it all, every poll has shown a majority of us mere subjects, the only people whom the law affects — after all, Congress refused to allow themselves and their staffers to be pushed into the Obamacare exchanges — have continually opposed the bill. Yet the Democrats keep assuring us that these are mere hiccups on the way to a grand universal health care plan.
Republicans understand the devastating effects Obamacare is having on the economy, on jobs, and on insurance rates: Americans are now finding it harder to find full-time work from employers seeking to remain outside the mandate, and insurance premiums have skyrocketed since passage of the bill.
And Republicans understand that once an entitlement becomes an accepted part of our everyday lives, it is nearly impossible to eliminate it. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are on the way to bankrupting this country, but nobody believes that those will be eliminated or meaningfully reformed anytime soon; the mere suggestion of raising the retirement age by two years is met with howls of protest by the left, despite the fact that life expectancy has significantly increased since the passage of these entitlements.
Therefore, the best possible time to overturn, or at least make meaningful changes to, an entitlement, is soon after it passes, while the debate is still fresh in everyone’s minds, while people still have the fight in them to continue vigorously opposing it, and before people begin to accept it as a fact of life as they now accept Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The Democrats, who attempted every procedural trick they could think of in order to pass this monstrosity (remember that gem of democracy called the “Deeming Resolution”?) are now crying foul when Republicans are working within the congressional rules to try to defund Obamacare.
It is time the Democrats finally followed the will of the people, and overturned this bill that would make us less healthy, less wealthy and less free.