Why Oba­macare is bad for Amer­ica’s health

Ex­pen­sive over­reach could prove fa­tal if not struck down

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - By Rep. Allen B. West

Othe Supreme Court will con­sider the le­gal­ity of the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act, also re­ferred to as Oba­macare. The high court will pore over Ar­ti­cle 1, Sec­tion 8 of the Con­sti­tu­tion to de­ter­mine the true mean­ing be­hind the words, “The Congress shall have power to lay and col­lect taxes, du­ties, im­posts and ex­cises, to pay the debts and pro­vide for the com­mon De­fense and gen­eral wel­fare of the United States; To reg­u­late Com­merce with for­eign Na­tions and among the sev­eral states, and with the In­dian Tribes.” The 2012 Supreme Court must de­ter­mine whether the Founders had any in­ten­tion of man­dat­ing the be­hav­ior of pri­vate en­ter­prises and in­di­vid­u­als. To me, the an­swer is ob­vi­ous: ab­so­lutely not. Our na­tion was founded on the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence. Free­dom of choice and a free mar­ket are at the core of our na­tion’s soul. A gov­ern­men­tal man­date for the be­hav­ior of in­di­vid­u­als and pri­vate en­ter­prises is anath­ema to what our founders in­tended. The prospect of hav­ing an un­elected panel of bu­reau­crats de­ter­min­ing fun­da­men­tal de­ci­sions about our in­di­vid­ual health care is per­haps the most per­sonal and in­ti­mate in­tru­sion into our lives. The con­cept of this ab­surd and dan­ger­ous law surely ranks with the griev­ances laid down 236 years ago.

In Jan­uary 2011, Florida fed­eral Dis­trict Judge C. Roger Vin­son ruled the in­di­vid­ual man­date un­con­sti­tu­tional, stat­ing: “Never be­fore has Congress re­quired that ev­ery­one buy a prod­uct from a pri­vate com­pany (es­sen­tially for life) just for be­ing alive and re­sid­ing in the United States. If [the gov­ern­ment] has the power to com­pel an oth­er­wise pas­sive in­di­vid­ual into a trans­ac­tion . . . it is not hy­per­bolic to sug­gest that Congress could do al­most any­thing it wanted.” To­day, this pre­dic­tion is be­ing at­tempted be­fore our very eyes.

With Oba­macare, in­sur­ance com­pa­nies will be amount of power for Washington bu­reau­crats is an act of Congress, with a three-fifths su­per­ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate. In other words, the un­elected IPAB, ap­pointed by the pres­i­dent, es­sen­tially be­comes its own shadow leg­isla­tive branch.

The fun­da­men­tal struc­ture of our gov­ern­ment, with three co-equal branches and a care­ful sys­tem of checks and bal­ances, is be­ing usurped. Our free­doms and lib­er­ties are be­ing chipped away, bit by bit. Our coun­try is be­ing trans­formed step by in­cre­men­tal step into a cen­trally planned, strin­gently con­trolled bu­reau­cratic nanny state, and what I find most fright­en­ing is that a por­tion of our pop­u­lace will­ingly dons the shack­les, and like lem­mings, marches to our demise.

Per­haps some Amer­i­cans are sim­ply un­aware of the ex­or­bi­tant mon­e­tary cost of this gov­ern­men­tal be­he­moth. The num­bers don’t lie, and they are dan­ger­ous:

$1.76 tril­lion from Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers to pay for Oba­macare over 10 years, nearly dou­ble the $940 bil­lion fore­cast when the bill was signed into law (Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice). $52 bil­lion in new taxes on busi­nesses as em­ploy­ers are forced to pro­vide health in­sur­ance (CBO). $800,000 fewer U.S. jobs (CBO). $47 bil­lion in new taxes on drug com­pa­nies and med­i­cal de­vice mak­ers, costs that surely will be passed down to pa­tients, par­tic­u­larly our se­nior cit­i­zens.

Fam­i­lies earn­ing more than $250,000 a year will see more taxes, as Oba­macare adds a new tax to in­vest­ment in­come, in­clud­ing cap­i­tal gains, div­i­dends, rental in­come and roy­al­ties.

In­sur­ance pre­mi­ums are ex­pected to in­crease 1.9 per­cent to 2.3 per­cent in 2014 and up to 3.7 per­cent by 2023 be­cause Oba­macare adds a pre­mium tax on health in­sur­ers of­fer­ing full cov­er­age.

The Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act is un­work­able and des­tined to fail. One need only look back a few years ago to the last big gov­ern­ment pro­gram with the word “af­ford­able” in it. Bar­ney Frank’s Af­ford­able Hous­ing Act man­aged, in less than a decade, to de­mol­ish the hous­ing mar­ket, weaken fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and wipe out the net worth of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans.

What makes any­one think gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion in health care will be suc­cess­ful? Oba­macare is un­con­sti­tu­tional, anti-con­sti­tu­tional and, most cer­tainly, an aw­ful piece of Amer­i­can pol­icy. Let’s hope af­ter next week’s Supreme Court decision it also be­comes a short-lived piece of Amer­i­can his­tory.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY LI­NAS GARSYS

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