Donald Lambro

Legislation and constitutional amendments have been introduced in at least three dozen states that argue the government has illegally exceeded its Constitutional reach by requiring citizens to purchase health care plans or else suffer hundreds of dollars in annual tax penalties. Thousands of Internal Revenue Service agents will be hired to police this mandate and crack down on any citizen who refuses to do so.

Virginia and Idaho have enacted bans against the mandates, and many other states are expected to follow suit. State attorneys general in Virginia, Idaho, South Carolina and Florida are preparing to file lawsuits in federal court in a legal battle that is expected to go to the Supreme Court.

"While Congress has used its taxing power to fund Social Security and Medicare, never before has it used its commerce power to mandate that an individual person engage in an economic transaction with a private company," Georgetown University law professor Randy E. Barnett writes in The Washington Post this week.

The courts have usually upheld the government's regulatory powers in interstate commerce. But that is no longer a certainty in the conservative high court that for the first time has struck down bans on firearms and upheld a corporation's right to spend money in political campaigns.

Further fueling the backlash against Obama's massive expansion of government entitlements -- despite the near-insolvency of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- are the Congressional Budget Office's dubious cost estimates claiming that Obamacare is paid for and, indeed, will cut the deficit.

Most of CBO's estimates are based on specious political expectations that Congress will, as its bill promises, slash $500 billion in Medicare costs over 10 years, which will never happen. Lawmakers passed legislation to slash Medicare payments to doctors and postpone, each year, their action for another year in the so-called "doc fix."

Their real plan will eventually call for a nationwide sales tax to keep the health care plan alive and, by then, there will be another powerful special interest group lobbying for its immortality.

Meanwhile, if you want to see the future of Obamacare, look at what's happened under the very similar health care plan in Massachusetts that has turned into yet another oppressive entitlement funded by taxpayers.

"More than half of the 408,000 newly insured residents pay nothing," says health care analyst Grace-Marie Turner. Another 140,000 people were uninsured, assessed a penalty or exempted. Because of the shortage of doctors, more than half the state's internal-medicine doctors no longer accept new patients; emergency rooms are packed, insurance mandates have driven up health care costs, waiting periods to see a doctor are much longer, and three of four major insurers had operating losses last year as medical expenses soar.

That's what awaits all of us in the age of Obamacare unless it is stopped.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.