Mona Charen
Most people have heard that Obamacare is being challenged as unconstitutional because it contains an individual mandate forcing people to purchase health insurance. That challenge is due to be heard by the Supreme Court this year. But while the mandate is certainly problematic in a system that, at least notionally, is one of limited and enumerated powers, the mandate is not the worst part of this bill -- not by a long shot.

Truly, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) belongs in a museum somewhere in an exhibit about what can happen when you elect Democrat majorities to the House, Senate and White House. Like so much else in the Democratic agenda (Dodd-Frank, environmental regulation, mortgage relief), it relies not on incentives, competition or patient choice but on blatant government coercion.

The PPAC squeaked to passage only because it was rumored to contain (no one read it) cost-controlling measures. Even Democrats are aware that Medicare alone faces a $30.8 trillion shortfall over the next several decades. The president accordingly sold the legislation with the claim that Obamacare would reduce the deficit. ?. . .We believe the reforms we?ve proposed to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid will . . . (save) us $500 billion by 2023 and an additional $1 trillion dollars in the decade after that.?

That promise is about as reliable as one feature of the bill, the so-called CLASS Act to provide long-term care. The CLASS Act is dead. Just months after the bill?s passage, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had to admit that the program ran afoul of basic arithmetic. She was forced to acknowledge this reality because the canny Senator Judd Gregg had slipped an amendment into the legislation requiring that HHS certify the program?s actuarial soundness. (Why don?t all laws have this requirement?)

PPAC does contain a cost-controlling measure -- and this where the legislation careens not just into unconstitutionality but lawlessness. All decisions about controlling Medicare costs will be decided by the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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