Obamacare Resistance Movement
by Grace-Marie Turner
Issue 218– December 26, 2012
ObamaCare may be the law, but a major resistance movement has already sprouted across the U.S. Though approval of the unpopular law stood at only 38% on Nov. 6, the elections were not a referendum on ObamaCare mainly because Governor Romney was unable to prosecute the case against its most despised provisions – the individual mandate, employer mandate and state-run health exchanges – since all were in the law he signed in Massachusetts.
With the election over and no chance President Obama will sign legislation repealing the law, implementation is proceeding. But the ObamaCare Resistance Movement has begun. Some examples:
Congress: “ObamaCare has to go,” wrote House Speaker John Boehner. He said, “There are essentially three major routes to repeal of the president’s law: the courts, the presidential election process and the congressional oversight process. With two of those three routes having come up short, the third and final one becomes more important than ever.” He pledged “vigorous oversight” and said House committees are already conducting investigations of possible improper spending.
Governors: The health law relies on states to expand insurance coverage through Medicaid and to set up bureaucracies, called exchanges, through which new health insurance subsidies will be distributed. Governor Bobby Jindal wrote a letter to the Department of Health & Human Services explaining why Louisiana will not be creating a state ObamaCare exchange:
“The full extent of damage the [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] causes to small businesses, the nation’s economy, and the American health care system will only be revealed with time. The State of Louisiana has no interest in being a party to this failure,” he wrote.
At least 21 states have said they definitely or probably will not set up state exchanges, with Ohio, Wisconsin, Maine, Nebraska, South Carolina, Georgia and Indiana most recently joining the opposition.
Businesses: Companies with more than 50 employees are searching for ways to avoid the penalties for not complying with the law’s employer mandate. They must either provide government-approved health insurance or pay a fine of $2,000 for each full-time worker. But companies can escape the fines if they make the painful decision to cut workers to part-time – defined in the law as less than 30 hours a week.
Denny’s franchise owner John Metz of Florida said he would “love to cover all employees” with health insurance, “but to pay $5,000 per employee would cost us $175,000 per restaurant, and unfortunately, most of our restaurants don’t make $175,000 a year. I can’t afford it.”
Religious leaders: The Obama Administration’s decision to force employers to provide access to contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization at no cost to their employees has prompted 40 lawsuits by Catholic dioceses and other organizations claiming it violates their First Amendment protection of religious liberty.
Although churches themselves are exempt, the mandate applies to religiously affiliated hospitals, colleges, charities and social service agencies. Cardinal Timothy Dolan recently said the Catholic Church will “not obey” the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate, a policy he classified as “immoral.”
Citizens: The individual mandate will take effect in 2014, and the CBO expects at least 6 million people to pay the initial $95 fine rather than purchase expensive, government-prescribed health insurance.
And the number surely will rise as the ObamaCare Resistance Movement grows.
Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute. This first appeared in Forbes.