Healthcare

Repealing Obamacare: Politically Feasible, Morally Urgent

Missourians took a bold stand last Tuesday against Obamacare. Fully 71% of voters supported a ballot measure forbidding the government from requiring state residents to have health insurance. This so-called “individual mandate” is a crucial component of the new federal health law.

The Show-Me State’s vote comes on the heels of a federal judge’s decision to allow a Virginia lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare to move forward.

The tide is turning against the President’s health-reform plan. Indeed, a recent Rasmussen poll found that nearly 60% of likely voters favor repealing Obamacare.

Americans can strike the death knell for this unpopular piece of legislation by kicking the Democrats out of Congress this fall and giving President Obama the boot in 2012. The next class of lawmakers must take immediate action to completely repeal Obamacare.

Incremental revisions just won’t do. This 2,400-page law is the biggest entitlement since the Great Society. A wide-ranging program that puts one-sixth of our economy in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats can’t be fixed through a little tinkering. Lawmakers need to scrap the measure in its entirety.

Time is of the essence. Obamacare works like a one-way ratchet. Dismantling the huge new bureaucracies established by the measure will be effectively impossible once they’ve taken root.

Within just a couple years, the law creates an astonishing 159 new boards and commissions. Among them? An Elder Justice Coordinating Council, an Office of Indian Men’s Health, and a Pregnancy Assistance Fund. There’s also a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Private Purchasing Council, and the Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration Project. The list goes on and on.

Obamacare even increases the size of agencies not typically associated with health care. About 16,000 new IRS agents will be hired to enforce the individual mandate, file the reams of new paperwork required of small businesses, and collect new taxes.

And what a load of taxes there is. The law in 2012 whacks individuals with incomes above $200,000 and families with incomes above $250,000 with a new 3.8% Medicare tax on “unearned” income from interest, rent, capital gains, and dividends. Next year, Obamacare extracts billions in new tax revenue from drug companies and medical device firms. And it lowers the tax deduction people can take for catastrophic healthcare expenses.

That’s just the start. The law halves the amount of money Americans can put into tax-advantaged Flexible Spending Accounts for routine medical expenses. And folks with Health Savings Accounts are barred from spending the money in their tax-free accounts on over-the-counter medicines—even the sorts of allergy and antacid meds that are many times more expensive by prescription.

Once all these taxes and government agencies are in full force, thousands of government employees will be dependent on the continued expansion of Obamacare for their livelihood. They’ll fight tooth-and-nail against any legislation that compromises their paycheck. If lawmakers don’t eradicate these taxes before they’re fully in place, all those bureaucrats will be here to stay.

Obamacare is also designed to make Americans dependent on government for insurance. The law will require policies to contain a number of gold-plated benefits, like coverage for adult children and mandatory preventive care with no co-pays. These new mandates, of course, will make many existing insurance plans illegal.

As a result, many people will be forced off their existing coverage and will have to sign up through new government-run insurance exchanges. The plans sold on these exchanges will technically be provided by private providers but will be heavily regulated and subsidized. And Lynn Woolsey (D.-Calif.) has introduced an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would, if passed, put the “public option,” the government insurance plan, back into play. Each state-run insurance exchange, starting in 2014, would have to include this option.

As the cost of insurance rises, Congress will face pressure to raise subsidies. Many Americans will get used to having other taxpayers foot the bill for ever-greater amounts of ever-more generous coverage.

This fall, Republicans will attempt to persuade the American people that they deserve to be put back in power. Exhibit A in their case should be a pledge to immediately repeal Obamacare. Scrapping the health-reform package in its entirety is the only way to prevent Obamacare from doing irreparable damage to the country.

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