Below is part two of my interview last week with Senator Mike Lee on his efforts to de-fund Obamacare. I think we all knew there are some crooked folks on The Hill. But what Lee had to say tells me some of these people could give a pretzel a run for its money.
BROWN: I just read this morning that Detroit is planning to use Obamacare help remedy its economic crisis by moving its younger government workers into the Affordable Care Act to save money. Why use liberal policies to fix a problem caused by liberal policies?
LEE: Well, this is what they do. This is where Big Government politics take us. They take us to bigger and more centralized government. It doesn’t end well, it’s not fun. It’s not good for the country, or the economy; most importantly, it’s not good for hardworking Americans. The middle class families who are just struggling to get by, those are the people most harmed by Big Government. So, this is yet another example of why we’ve got to stop this from happening. The President’s policies will drive more and more people, not just the folks in Detroit, but they’re going to drive more and more people on to the healthcare exchanges, because the President’s not enforcing the employer mandate. Once they’re on those exchanges, he’s making it as easy as he can for them to get subsidies because he’s announced that he’s also not going to enforce the provisions of law that would otherwise require the government to verify income. People will be able to either understate or overstate their income. Understate it to make sure they get the maximum subsidy and overstate it to the extent necessary to avoid being put on Medicaid. So this is yet another thing that’s going to expand Obamacare even further, cost us even more money than they predicted, and it’s wrong, and we have to defund it.
BROWN: When they all gathered to draft this bill, I guess on some wind-blasted mountaintop amidst Satanic runes or wherever they got together to do it, did they just start making things up? Did they just start regurgitating liberal ideas and sticking them in the bill? How much of this is crafted to eventually create a single-payer system? I hear both ends of the spectrum. It was dumb policy and there was some sort of evil cabalistic intent somewhere in the shadows.
LEE: I’ve heard both accounts as well. As you know, I wasn’t here yet when that happened. This predates my time in office, and so I don’t have firsthand knowledge of any of that. What I can tell you is that either way, it’s bad. Either way this was a 2700 page law that was voted on for the most part by people who had never read the bill. And after it was voted on and passed by people who never read the bill, it was then amended, not just once but twice by the Supreme Court of the United States, after a majority of the Supreme Court decided that it was unconstitutional the way as written: the court rewrote it twice in order to make it appear constitutional. After that, the President amended the law twice. As I explained a moment ago, by telling us that he’s going to enforce the law against individuals but not against Big Business; and then by saying he’s not going to require people claiming eligibility for exchange subsidies to provide proof or any evidence of their income level. And so we’ve got a law on the books now, that’s not the same law that was passed by Congress. And the law passed by Congress was not read itself by those who passed it. This law is a big problem and we’ve got to stop it.
BROWN: At this moment the iceberg is beginning to cut into the sides of the Titanic, it hasn’t made its way all the way along the hull; but it seems the people who steered us into the iceberg are saying: “Let’s all go into the lounge and have a drink, don’t worry we’ll turn on the pumps and this will all be fixed by the time 2014 gets here.”
LEE: That’s right. Meanwhile, they have the orchestra play louder so as to muffle out the screams of those who are starting to experience the ill effects of the iceberg.
BROWN: And certain people are jumping in the lifeboats ahead of the women and children. Before we beat the Titanic theme to death, you talk about people voting on the bill without having read it. You have had more than you fair share of experience with people saying: “Here’s the bill don’t bother reading it, we don’t have time for that just give me an up or down”
LEE: It’s stunning, Lincoln. It’s one of the more disturbing and surprising aspects of this job. This place operates in many respects as I predicted that it would before I got here. But one thing that I didn’t entirely expect, was the fact that there were so many who would be so willing under certain circumstances to vote for something they had never read. I was here New Year’s Eve, at the stroke of midnight and well past that, as were trying to deal with the “Fiscal Cliff” dilemma. We were told by Senate leadership “Go back to your offices we’ll have a bill to consider within the next little while.” We did. We received an email at 1:36 AM, saying “Here’s the bill.” 153 pages of pretty dense text doing major surgery on the tax code. Exactly 6 minutes later, the bell rang indicating we were voting on said bill. I walked on the Senate floor in an absolute state of shock and dismay and became even more dismayed that all but eight of my colleagues had voted for that bill without any of them having read it. It was disgusting. Call your senators and congressmen and make it clear that you don’t want any part of a funding mechanism that includes Obamacare funding and enforcement.