Congress is poised to vote on an issue that will define the American Experience for decades to come. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more widely known as Obamacare, is perhaps the most calamitous law this nation has ever seen. It will destroy the doctor/patient relationship, place critical health care decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats, and rely on enforcement by the nation’s tax collecting apparatus.
Worse yet, this monstrosity is not even close to being ready. Obamacare has no mechanism to verify the status of applicants, inviting massive fraud. The data hub into which we will enter our most personal and private health and financial information is vulnerable to identity thieves. Health insurance premiums are set to skyrocket for millions of Americans and the program is destined to bankrupt the nation.
The law is so awful, Congress itself has been exempted from major portions of it, along with big business and labor unions which argue that Obamacare will destroy the 40-hour work week. The president’s special dispensations on Obamacare shred the rule of law and reek of despotism.
Small wonder that Obamacare has been described as a train wreck; not by conservatives or congressional Republicans but by the law’s chief Senate patron, Max Baucus, Montana’s Democrat senator.
Every single Republican Member of Congress has either voted against Obamacare or voiced their opposition to it. Yet now that Congress has a real opportunity to prevent this monstrosity from being inflicted on the American people, many Republicans are chickening out on the one thing that can stop Obamacare in its tracks.
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas are spearheading the effort to rally their fellow Republicans to pledge their support for a Continuing Resolution that funds the entire federal government except Obamacare.
Some Republicans have engaged in petty bickering over this effort, calling it dumb and silly. But this sort of schoolyard taunting runs the risk of allowing the Obamacare train wreck to embed itself in the government bureaucracy.
Other Republicans say they want to repeal Obamacare, but the House has voted on such a measure dozens of times with no effect. Another approach proposes eliminating certain portions of Obamacare, but no amount of tinkering around the edges can forestall the terrible impact of this law. It is like a mythical Hydra; cut off one head and two more grow back in its place.
The hard truth is that the only realistic way to stop Obamacare is to defund it, and the best way to accomplishing this is through the Continuing Resolution pending in Congress which funds all of the federal government except Obamacare. There is absolutely no reason why this cannot be done. The proposal by Lee, Cruz, and others mirrors a relatively routine procedure which Congress has undertaken many times over several decades.
Why would so many Republicans fear this approach? Some argue that the GOP will be tarred with the lie of trying to shut down the federal government, hurting their prospects for the 2014 midterm elections. In fact, not one Republican proposes to shut down the government by defunding Obamacare, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.
Notwithstanding the terrible effect Obamacare will have on the American people, Republicans who refuse to defund it will face a backlash from their constituents. Congressional Republicans can no longer get away with telling the voters they are doing everything they can to stop Obamacare but then refuse to defund it.
The voters are no longer fooled by this sort of rhetorical deception. By not defunding Obamacare, Republicans risk losing their majority in the House and slipping below 40 seats in the Senate, the effects of which would be a devastating free reign for President Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress. It is absolutely stunning that House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell do not see the enormous risk they and their party face by allowing Obamacare to take hold.
In spite of all the complexities surrounding Obamacare, the proposition of defunding it is simple; if you vote to fund Obamacare, you own it. Republicans who follow such a path will have lost the conservatives who voted them into office and face the prospect of the 2014 campaign being their last.
L. Brent Bozell is the chairman and founder of ForAmerica.