You can’t say they didn’t keep their promise.
In the face of being called “Nazis” (thank you Congressman Steve Cohen, D-TN), and claims that they are “killing Americans” (thank you Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee, D-TX), Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives did what they promised to do during last year’s campaign season. They voted on, and passed, an “Obamacare” repeal bill.
That’s good news. And better still, they now seem to be navigating a fairly strategic path towards proposing alternatives to the President’s legislation. It’s not enough to simply “oppose” the existing law – they must have a plan for meaningful “healthcare reform” themselves – and it looks like that is in the works.
Don’t believe the claims that the House Republicans’ vote is merely symbolic. The House has now put the entire U.S. Senate in a “check mate” scenario. And just as the House majority had to answer the call of the American people to not leave us stuck with “Obamacare,” so also will the Senate need to offer a response.
And why is it so important to repeal what the President forced upon us last year, and “reform” the President’s “reform?” Americans are already experiencing the chaos that the new law has created in our regional healthcare markets, which has led to health insurance costs rising as much as 40% in some cases, just since its passage.
But another key reason why Obamacare cannot be left in its current form can be found in research conducted by our government itself. No, the claims of congressional Republicans “killing Americans” are not to be taken seriously. But President Obama’s attempt at caring for our health may be sickening, and even endangering, the American work ethic.
According to none other than the Congressional Budget Office, many of us have decided we no longer will have to work as much as we once did, given all the “assistance” we can get via Obamacare. This is not just political “spin” or partisan punditry. It comes directly from Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the non-partisan C.B.O., a federal agency within the legislative branch of our government that employs people to analyze government policies, and consider their impact on the federal budget, and on the economy. The C.B.O. likely produces some of the most objective, “fair,” and non-politicized data that we receive from our government.
Speaking at a little-noted event at the University of Southern California’s Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, Mr. Elmendorf noted that, outside the healthcare sector of our economy, the greatest impact of the Obamacare agenda will be in the labor market. It was October 22nd, just days away from the big midterm election, and Elmendorf’s presence at this conference, and his remarks at the conference, did not receive nearly the amount of press attention that they deserved.
Mr. Elmendorf stated that, in some cases, Americans will simply choose not to work, because their needs for healthcare will be provided by the enhanced Medicaid funding that is provided for in the Obamacare law. As Journalist Matt Cover noted at CNSNews.com (he was one of few journalists that actually reported on this event), this assessment of Obamacare by Mr. Elmendorf coincided with former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s remarks in May 2010. Recall that last year, then-Speaker Pelosi insisted that Obamacare would allow “artists” to “quit their day job” and pursue their art, free from the constraints of having to provide for one’s self, because the government would now take care of artists’ healthcare needs. That all sounded so good, right? It seemed like President Obama was making good on his agenda of, as he likes to say in his folksy fashion, “gettin’ people some help…”
But notice the gravity of what Mr. Elmendorf is describing. He’s talking about Medicaid, a social care program from our federal government that is intended to offer short-term assistance to poor and lower income households. And the head of the C.B.O., the individual described as the “top accountant to Congress,” is making the observation that we have, as a result of Obamacare, given increasing numbers of Americans a reason not to work (or to not work as much), and to choose instead to avail themselves to a “free” government welfare program.
The promises of Obamacare – reduced health care costs, universal access, a balanced federal budget – are illusory. Yet given the ways with which Obamacare was “sold” to voters, it is now apparent that politicians in our federal government have incentivized (some) people to consume more than they produce, and have assured them that it is their “right” to do so.
Obamacare must be struck down, and meaningful “reforms” must replace it. In its current form, it is the drug that is leaving the patient more sickly.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.