The Conversation

Congress Can Defeat Bad Health Care Laws Again

I'm really glad to see that conservatives are  back to talking about how bad ObamaCare is for Americans rather than focusing on the failures of the website.  The White House and the media want the focus to be the shortcomings of rather than the law itself. 

Today on The Foundry, Jim Weidman writes that Congress has repealed bad health care laws before and they can do it again.

Far from making America’s health system better, Obamacare is making it worse. In this kind of situation, the logical thing to do is to stop the destruction. That means pulling the plug on Obamacare.

Of course, the Administration doesn’t want you to entertain that notion. To discourage Americans calling for repeal, defunding, or scrapping this intrusive health law, liberals have taken to repeating President Obama’s assertion that Obamacare is not just the law of the land, but “settled” law that is “here to stay.”

The assertion is nonsense, of course. Far from being “settled,” numerous challenges to the law are still winding their way through the courts. And just because something is “the law of the land” doesn’t mean it can’t be changed.

Representative Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) learned that lesson the hard way nearly a quarter of a century ago. On August 17, 1989, a group of senior citizens chased the Ways and Means chairman from a town hall meeting in protest of the new Medicare Catastrophic Health Care Act. It had been enacted into law just 14 months earlier, with the promise that it would help seniors cope with medical expenses.

It was a classic case of “Washington knows best.” Lawmakers assured seniors the law was for their own good. After all, they noted, it established a ceiling on hospital and doctor bills, expanded benefits for nursing home care and prescription drugs, etc. What’s not to like? As Rostenkowski complained while fleeing his aged pursuers, These people don’t understand what the government is trying to do for them.”

Unfortunately for Rostenkowski, they knew all too well what the government—and the law—was doing to them. Once the law took effect, seniors discovered that these “new” benefits were extremely expensive. Worse, many already had the newly guaranteed benefits under their old coverage plans—and weren’t at all happy about having to pay higher taxes just to keep them.

The saga ended sadly for Rostenkowski but beneficially for seniors. Their protest gathered steam, and Washington—at last—listened. Just three months after that fateful protest, Congress repealed the Medicare Catastrophic Health Care Act.


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