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Unhappy Day: Obamacare Turns Two

Two years ago today, President Obama signed his 2,700-page, partisan healthcare bill into law.  Not a single Republican in either Congressional chamber voted for its passage.  Many Democrats didn't read the legislation, didn't know what was in it, and didn't care.  Since that fateful late March night in 2010, many of us have helped build the case that Obamacare is a unwieldy and unwise leviathan that must be disposed of.  Even though it hasn't even been fully implemented yet, the law has already birthed multiple unwelcome surprises and obliterated the lofty core promises its proponents invoked to force-feed their scheme to skeptical voters.  It has proven to be bad medicine, bad economics, and may soon be declared bad law.  Partisans may disagree on all three of those contentions, but once point of near-universal acknowledgement is the law's terrible politics.  The backlash it triggered helped wrest full control of Congress from Democrats' grip in 2010.  Its central pillar is wildly unpopular.  A stable majority of Americans has supported full repeal.  And the White House has chosen to shrug off the significance of this day -- a tacit admission of political liability and failure.  Rather than authoring a lengthy treatise on the subject (read this), I've endeavored to aggregate a round-up of Obamacare "tributes," demonstrating a remarkable unity of purpose on the center-right.  This unaffordable, unwanted, irredeemable, liberty-depriving, job-killing law must go.  Today's clarion calls:


The Wall Street Journal's must-read editorial:

The constitutional questions the Affordable Care Act poses are great, novel and grave, as much today as they were when they were first posed in an op-ed on these pages by the Washington lawyers David Rivkin and Lee Casey on September 18, 2009. The appellate circuits are split, as are legal experts of all interpretative persuasions. The Obama Administration and its allies are already planning to attack the Court's credibility and legitimacy if it overturns the Affordable Care Act. They will claim it is a purely political decision, but this should not sway the Justices any more than should the law's unpopularity with the public. The stakes are much larger than one law or one President. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Supreme Court's answers may constitute a hinge in the history of American liberty and limited and enumerated government. The Justices must decide if those principles still mean something.

Former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin on the law's economics:

If the Supreme Court understands these facts, it will be forced to invalidate the entire law. In particular, the individual mandate cannot be "severed" from the remainder of the health law in any meaningful economic sense. Numerous provisions of the law impose significant costs, such as fees, taxes and benefit mandates on health-care market participants, primarily health-insurance companies. Congress would not have imposed such costs without the countervailing revenues raised by the individual mandate—not just as a matter of politics, but because such uncompensated costs would be passed on to patients, undermining the central goal of the law to make health care more affordable.


Mitt Romney, on repeal:

It is past time to abolish the program, root and branch...I've opposed a one-size-fits-all health care plan for the entire nation. What we need is a free market, federalist approach to making quality, affordable health insurance available to every American. Each state should be allowed to pursue its own solution in this regard, instead of being dictated to by Washington.  But abolishing ObamaCare will only be half the battle. Just as important is the question of what to put in its place. Instead of the massive new taxes, trillions of dollars in new spending, and top-down bureaucratic decrees of ObamaCare, we need to limit Washington's control by spurring competition, creating maximum flexibility and enhancing consumer choice.

Newt Gingrich:

"Two years ago Barack Obama signed into law the most dangerous legislation in generations.  Obamacare will ultimately lead to a government takeover of healthcare.  It empowers bureaucrats at the expense of patients.  It regulates doctors and the practice of medicine more than ever before.  It taxes businesses and penalizes citizens for not complying with federal fiat.  It cuts Medicare by half a trillion dollars, threatening seniors' access to care.  It raises taxes by $500 billion.  And it's a new entitlement that will cost untold trillions in the future...Ultimately, we must demand the full repeal of Obamacare, and that will most likely require Congressional action.  Congress should listen to the American people and repeal this law now. "


Sen. Mitch McConnell: "Down With Obamacare."

...Most Americans understood from the start that the president’s claims about this plan simply weren’t credible. Chief among them was his insistence that it wouldn’t add a dime to the deficit. Americans aren’t stupid. They know that a government entitlement is about as likely to pay for itself as, well, a government entitlement.  Indeed, the more he repeated his promises the more skeptical Americans became...and for good reason. President Obama was right to attempt a reform. But Obamacare has turned out to be even worse than many of us predicted, and the unintended consequences and hidden surprises keep coming. Two years after its passage, Americans have made their views on Obamacare perfectly clear. They don’t like it, they believe it’s unconstitutional, and they want it repealed. Let’s clear the way and start over.

Senate Republicans' damning "broken promises" video:


Rep. Paul Ryan, exposing Obamacare's deceitful accounting in 2010, presaging this month's sticker shock CBO estimate:

These examples merely scratch the surface of important and incisive criticisms of this president's signature accomplishment.  Unless the Supreme Court acts decisively, a new Senate and a new president will be required to unravel and eliminate the mess the Obama/Reid/Pelosi regime inflicted upon an unwilling nation two years ago.  I'll leave you with two links: (1) Politico listing the misjudgments Democrats made in pushing Obamacare (spolier: pretty much everything), and (2) a leading liberal legal scholar explaining why the law doesn't violate the Constitution:


What’s particularly remarkable about Lithwick’s speculation is that she asserts as an “uncontroversial” starting point the proposition that the Obamacare legislation is incontestably constitutional. Here is the entirety of her argument (bracketed numbers added):

[1] Linda Greenhouse makes the first point [that the law is constitutional] more eloquently than I can. [2] That the law is constitutional is best illustrated by the fact that—until recently—the Obama administration expended almost no energy defending it. [3] Back when the bill passed Nancy Pelosi famously reacted to questions about its constitutionality with the words, “Are you serious?”

Pelosi's uninformed incredulity = Obamacare's totes constitutional.  Case closed, guys.

UPDATE - Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Charles Krauthammer.  Masterful.


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