February 4, 2015
Originally posted by the Daily Signal
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted for the fourth time to repeal—in full—the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The margin was 239 to 186. Now, the national debate moves to the Senate.
For the past five years, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the former majority leader, protected U.S. senators from such a recorded vote. Senators will now have to go on record as well.
For his part, President Obama has already responded by issuing his 10th veto threat of the new year. But that shouldn’t dissuade the Senate from joining the House in expressing its official opposition to Obamacare.
Complaints over a vote to repeal Obamacare are tiresome and predictable. Liberals and progressives, both in and out of Congress, are trying to avoid the truth. Their vision of a centrally-planned health care system is failing.
In fact, the law is not really “working” for millions of Americans, particularly those who have lost the coverage they had and liked, got a rate shock in their premiums, experienced breathtaking jumps in their deductibles, or found themselves in narrow networks that compromised their access to doctors.
Faced with approximately $2 trillion in new entitlement spending, plus penalties from individual and employer mandates, taxpayers have little to cheer about. And many low-income persons, who often don’t pay income taxes, will make their first unfriendly acquaintance with the Internal Revenue Service when they are compelled to pay back money to the government because of a miscalculation of their insurance subsidies.
The collision between the federal tax code and the hideously complex Obamacare subsidy system could be a colorful chapter in the annals of government central planning.
Another deepening concern among liberals and progressives, in and out of Congress, is a political problem: continuing the Obamacare debate is a liberal congressional job killer.
In the 2010 congressional elections, when Obamacare was the front-and-center issue, Democrats lost 63 seats. In 2012, though Obama won re-election, more voters still registered disapproval than approval of the law. And in 2014, when the president insisted that all of his policies were at stake in the election, Republicans not only took control of the Senate, but also scored massive victories at almost every level of government.
For the left, the politics of Obamacare is bad business. None other than Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has confirmed that diagnosis.
A vote in the House and the Senate, including the closely watched Senate procedural votes, is not a waste of time. It is a matter of responsibility.
Virtually every newly elected Republican member of Congress promised to oppose the unpopular law. Those lawmakers are honor bound to keep their promises to the people who elected them, even as the president who will veto their bill has blatantly broken many of his own.
For sure, the president will veto a full repeal of the law. That’s beside the point. In a democratic republic, elected representatives are accountable to the people—the sovereign power of the American republic—not to the president.
Beyond fulfilling their obligations to the people who voted for them, the new Congress should begin to make way for an alternative. Should the Supreme Court strike down the administration’s redefining the Obamacare subsidies in the federally run health insurance exchanges, the opportunity might come sooner rather than later.
Congressional liberals enacted the massive health law on a narrowly partisan basis, while predicting that the public would come to “like” it. Wrong; and not because, as professor Jonathan Gruber and his colleagues think, we just don’t know any better.
In April 2014, the president even declared the debate “over.” Wrong again.
Indeed, the Obamacare debate will continue. The country is in trouble, and the new Congress has an urgent duty to express the people’s voice.
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