Sometime in the next month, the United States Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Obama's individual mandate, the provision forcing everyone in the United States to buy health insurance. Based on how badly this provision was defeated in the oral arguments, it will likely be struck down as unconstitutional. If the law's most popular provision, the ban on excluding pre-existing conditions, is also struck down, Obama has nobody to blame but himself.
Obama campaigned against the individual mandate. In fact, it's the issue he won the nomination on. Obama said four years ago: "The main difference between my plan and Senator Clinton's plan is that she'd require the government to force you to buy health insurance." He even ran attack ads bashing Clinton on the issue.
Once Obama was in the White House, though, his tune changed. The mandate became the centerpiece of a corrupt deal that Obama cut with the insurance industry - in brief, the insurance industry agreed to accept the ban on excluding pre-existing conditions and several other expensive, onerous regulations in exchange for a mandate forcing everyone to buy their product, and hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies to further sweeten the pot.
Ron Suskind, who was granted insider access to the White House, explained that Obama made the deal even though "Obama, never much for the mandate, was concerned about legal challenges."
He should have been more than concerned. He should have upheld his sworn oath to the Constitution and said no to any deal that relied on an unconstitutional mandate.
The oral arguments before the Supreme Court showed this wasn't a close call. Even liberal commentators acknowledged it was a blowout. Jeffrey Toobin of CNN said it "was a train wreck for the Obama administration," and Andy Serwer of far-left Mother Jones magazine added "Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. should be grateful to the Supreme Court for refusing to allow cameras in the courtroom, because his defense of Obamacare on Tuesday may go down as one of the most spectacular flameouts in the history of the court."
It wasn't Verrilli's fault. Obama was making him defend the indefensible. A federal government with the power to order citizens to purchase politically-favored goods and services is a government of unlimited, unchecked powers-a government the Constitution exists to prevent.
If the ban on pre-existing condition exclusions falls with the mandate, as is likely, that will also be Obama's fault. The administration's brief to the Supreme Court argued that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta "was incorrect" to let the pre-existing ban stay in effect. Without the mandate, the Obama administration argued, the pre-existing ban has to go.
Unfortunately, they are right. There is no way to solve the pre-existing condition problem through economically destructive regulations - even if you try to pay-off the insurance companies with an unconstitutional mandate. Without the mandate, as Obama acknowledged, the pre-existing ban would put most insurance companies out of business.
If the Court, as expected, rejects Obama's unconstitutional mandate and the pre-existing condition ban he tied to it, he'll have nobody to blame but himself. His whole corrupt approach was a dead-end, and he knew it.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.
Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Kerpen to their "Guest List" in 2008 and The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a "Top Grassroots Lobbyist" in 2011.
Mr. Kerpen's op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Mr. Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. Mr. Kerpen has also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Kerpen currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Joanna and their daughter Lilly.
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