Alexander's Column

Derailing ObamaCare and DemoDebt

The Conservative Strategy

By Mark Alexander · Sep. 19, 2013
“If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people … must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” –Federalist No. 33 (1787)

The combination of the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund government by September 30, the implementation deadline for the next major phase of Barack Hussein Obama’s UNaffordable Care Act on October 1, and the upcoming debate on raising the debt ceiling in mid October, are combining to provide House Republicans with ample opportunity to protest the Democrat’s formula for extended economic stagnation, which is the greatest domestic threat to American Liberty and free enterprise and the most intrusive socialist legislation since Franklin Roosevelt’s despotic regime.

Our national debt load is a systemic and chronic problem with longterm catastrophic implications for our economy, which will not be resolved (in fact could be exacerbated) by a delay in government funding legislation, so Republicans will not fall on their sword on that issue. However, the pending implementation of “ObamaCare” (better called after October 1: “DemoCare”) is an immediate and acute threat to Liberty, and Republicans should do everything in their power to thwart that implementation.

As you recall, ObamaCare was rushed through the Democrat-controlled House and Senate before anyone knew what was in the 2,700 page bill – which has now grown to require more than seven feet of shelf space. (“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” –Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi) The measure passed in the Senate on a party line vote in 2009, while passing in the House by a narrow vote – 219–212 with 34 Democrats and all 178 Republicans voting against it. It was ceremonially signed into law by its namesake immediately after the House vote in March of 2010, prompting Joe Biden to proclaim, “This is a big f—— deal.”

Indeed, Obama’s plan to nationalize health care is near the top of the Left’s most coveted political prizes – second only to the “crown jewel” of socialism, the centralized control of worldview indoctrination through government “public education” institutions – and Demos have made great strides toward achieving that goal. (“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” –Vladimir Ilyich Lenin)

Obama says he will veto any bill which defunds or amends DemoCare, and that he will not negotiate anything as part of a debt ceiling agreement. Demo Majority Leader Harry Reid says, “We’re not going to bow to tea-party anarchists who deny the mere fact that Obamacare is the law. We will not bow to tea-party anarchists who refuse to accept that the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is constitutional.” In effect, the Senate will provide Obama political cover through this debate.

Despite all the Leftist rhetoric about this massive socialist boondoggle being “the law which must now be funded,” it was wholly rejected by Republicans in the Senate and House, along with many House Democrats. Thus, proposals to defund it, delay it or amend it are exactly in line with what our Founder’s expected legislators to do in the interest of defending and sustaining Rule of Law.

After 41 previous attempts to delay or amend this behemoth, House Republicans have attached a “defund” DemoCare amendment to its Continuing Resolution legislation, CR being that “pass the buck” gimmick to fund government without actually passing a budget – which has not been done since George Bush’s last year in office. Using the CR to make their case against nationalized healthcare, effectively elevated conservative Republican objections above the political din.

Here is the House and Senate Republican strategy and endgame (yes, there is one, even if GOP “leadership” is trying to catch up with the rank and file). There is a growing grassroots storm brewing in opposition to socialized medicine, now that the reality and consequences of ObamaCare are starting to sink in. The House is using the CR as a vehicle to force Democrat votes on defunding, delaying or amending this job-killing budget-buster. The DemoCare dare is really a strategic long shot effort to delay implementation of the “individual mandate” until after the 2014 election when Republicans believe they will have generated enough political opposition to significantly modify major portions of the law. Indeed, Obama has, for political expediency, already unilaterally (and unconstitutionally) delayed implementation of the employer mandate.

Knowing the House “defund tactic” won’t pass a full vote in the Demo-controlled Senate, as Republican Sen. Ted Cruz made plain prior to the House legislation even making it to the Senate, this strategy assumes that Demo Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will strip out that measure and send it back to the House. The next step will be for House Republicans to return a CR replacing the word “defund” with “delay,” which is also likely to fail. As a third pass, I think the House should return a “clean CR” with an amendment to prohibit any congressional subsidies for healthcare (after Obama unconstitutionally did an end run around the Vitter amendment), and demand Executive Branch employees also be subject to all provisions of the ObamaCare mandates – both measures with enormous popular support. That notwithstanding, the measures might still stall in the Senate, where Democrats would like to run the clock down and force a “government shutdown,” which they and their Leftmedia advocates will effectively blame on Republicans.

If Demo Senators reject all of the above, then the House should, in the stated interest not shutting down government, acquiesce, and let the ObamaCare mandates go into effect as scheduled. But that does not mean the strategy is a failure – quite the contrary. Republicans will have gained enormous momentum ahead of 2014. The net effect of the Republican strategy is that Democrats in the House and Senate were forced to vote on the defund and delay measures, and will have to defend those votes ahead of the midterm elections. In regard to the measure to “delay” the implementation of ObamaCare, Demo votes against that “Republican compromise” will be judged harshly in states and districts with only modest support for ObamaCare, amid growing grassroots protests against Obama’s socialized medicine scheme.

What will drive those grassroots protests?

Obama, the consummate narcissist, having himself even embraced the name “ObamaCare,” will himself, along with every member of the House and Senate with a “D” after their name, suffer a reversal of political fortunes after ObamaCare is implemented. Why? Because ObamaCare has high negatives in public opinion polls, and from October 01 forward, every American of every political stripe who has any issue with health care, whether a hangnail or heart transplant, a delay in a doctor’s office or in critical care for a loved one, will tie blame for their discontent like a noose around the necks of Obama and his Democrats, who were solely responsible for forcing this abomination upon the American people. Additionally, dealing with government clerical minions in this new bloated bureaucracy will be no different than dealing with any other huge government bureaucracy – endless without resolution. No matter how Fab-Tastic ObamaCare may be for some Demo constituencies, Democrats are going to be the target of every health care complaint.

Indeed, when your adversary is self destructing, don’t interfere!

Even Demo National Committee chair, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, can see that pitfall from her perspective in the House. She is insisting that Democrats “must not treat every minute provision in the law as sacred.” She added that Demos “should be open to suggestions for improving the law.”

I would add that, beyond the high ObamaCare negatives among consumers in general, the number of Obama’s previously-loyal adherents who are tired of his incessant, arrogant and spiteful rhetoric, is growing.

If Republicans successfully herd the inevitable healthcare consumer dissatisfaction and anger toward Democrats, the electoral awards will be substantial in 2014, 2016 and beyond. Of course, given that establishment Republican have a propensity for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, that’s a big “if.” Republicans should heed the old adage: When your adversary is defeating himself, don’t interfere.

In mid October, the Republican House will follow the CR, with amendments to the Debt Ceiling proposal (which we hit sometime between 17 and 22 October) – a “wish list” of other amendments, including tax reform, approval of the Keystone pipeline, regulatory and entitlement reforms including means-tested Medicare, and a “chained” Consumer Price Index (CPI). But that is the next budget battle.

And Obama has provided Republicans plenty of fodder for that debate, most notably his recent assertion: “Now, this debt ceiling – I just want to remind people in case you haven’t been keeping up – raising the debt ceiling … does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you’ve already racked up, Congress. … It’s always a tough vote because the average person thinks raising the debt ceiling must mean that we’re running up our debt, so people don’t like to vote on it, and, typically, there’s some gamesmanship in terms of making the president’s party shoulder the burden of raising the – taking the vote.”

“Pay the bills that you’ve already racked up, Congress”? Apparently Obama’s trillion dollar “economic stimulus program” FAIL is just something Congress “racked up.” This from the biggest spender and political gamesman in U.S. history.

Taking a walk down memory lane, I recall Obama waxing long on the Republican-controlled Senate floor in March of 2006, about President Bush’s request to raise the debt ceiling: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

And then there was that “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” presidential campaign speech in July of 2008: “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – No. 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

Fact Check: Over the 8 years George Bush was in office, our national debt increased by $4.9 trillion, due primarily to the economic consequences of 9/11 and funding two major warfronts in response. In the five years since Obama took office, his faux “economic recovery plan” has increased the national debt load by $6.1 trillion. Yes, No. 44 added $6.1 trillion “by his lonesome,” so that we now have over $16.7 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back – more than $54,000 for every man, woman, and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.

As a place marker on ObamaCare’s threat to Liberty and free enterprise, what follows is a brief analysis of the Left’s endeavor to nationalize healthcare.

The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” which accomplished neither patient protection nor cost reductions, is now ubiquitously called “ObamaCare,” but perhaps more aptly should be called ObamaCareless.“ The original stated rationale was to "control health care costs” and “provide insurance coverage for the uninsured,” approximately 15% of Americans with no medical coverage – which is not to say no medical care.

Of course, the real rationale for ObamaCare is to create subsidies in order to create dependencies in order to create constituencies, the Left’s template for political perpetuation. O'Care accomplishes this by implementing a scheme that will ultimately give the central government authoritarian regulatory control over more than 20% of the U.S. economy. This is in keeping with the philosophy of Obama and his NeoCom cadres of statists on the Left have effectively hijacked the once-noble Democrat Party and converted it into their own socialist party tool in their ongoing effort to pull the plug on our Constitution.

Ultimately, the objective of ObamaCare is to implement a massive single-payer system, in effect, placing the management and rationing of health care services under the thumb of a bloated and inefficient central government, with the objective of using that “achievement” as a major political stepping stone to implement a much broader socialist agenda in the coming years.

Our nation is about to take a great leap in that direction, with devastating consequences. Ronald Reagan, in a now-famous 1961 radio address, warned, “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It is very easy to describe a medical program as a humanitarian project… Most people are reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people.”

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As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid surmised earlier this summer, “What we’ve done with ObamaCare is a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever. … We had a real good run at the public option … don’t think we didn’t have a tremendous number of people who wanted a single-payer system.” When asked if he really meant to say “single payer,” Reid responded, “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes!”

Indeed, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the grossly misnamed “Health and Human Services” bureaucracy, infamously proclaimed during Obama’s first presidential campaign, “I’m all for a single-payer system eventually.”

For his part, Obama was clear in his objective to nationalize health care: “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14% of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody.”

In other words, Obama’s objective is to convert the U.S. into a Euro-style socialist state. Were he to look across The Pond, however, he would notice that the UK is now moving to privatize its National Health Service in order to avoid the fate of other EuroUnion states teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

Recall, if you will, the inimitable words of Winston Churchill: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” More recently, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher aptly noted, “Socialist governments … always run out of other people’s money. They then start to nationalize everything.”

Sound familiar?

Moreover, Germany Christian Democrat Party candidate Angela Merkel, won reelection for implementing austerity measures, which have left Germany, Europe’s largest economy, with the lowest unemployment rate in almost two-decades, and the virtual elimination of the nation’s budget deficit.

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However, American Democrats are not so smart. Obama stepped up the Demo-goguery in support of nationalized healthcare this week: “Republicans in Congress don’t seem to be focused on how to grow the economy and build the middle class. … [A]re some of these folks really so beholden to one extreme wing of their party they’re willing to tank the entire economy just because they can’t get their way on this issue?”

South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson had it right back in 2009, when he interrupted Obama’s introduction of his nationalizing health care plan to a joint session of Congress: “You Lie! You LIE!” I second that motion, without apology, and have found that it is applicable to just about anything Obama says.

Of course, Republicans are endeavoring to “grow the economy and build the middle class” as Obama takes the nation down the debt death spiral.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obama’s plan to continue mounting debt on future generations is unsustainable, and that debt load is exacerbated by the rising costs of ObamaCare.

As the number of major corporations opting out of ObamaCare grows, and as states and individuals start calculating the enormous cost of the exchange programs, and as even Obama’s most ardent supporters – unions – abandon his socialist scheme to nationalize health care, Obama defiantly claims, “A lot of the, you know, horror stories that were predicted about how this was gonna shoot rates way up and there were gonna be death panels and all that stuff, none of that stuff’s happened. And in two weeks, the Affordable Care Act is gonna help millions of more people. And there’s no serious evidence that the law, which has helped to keep down the rise in health care costs to their lowest level in 50 years, is holding back economic growth. All of the horror stories that were talked about have not come true.”

Not YET! In the words of P.J. O'Rourke, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”

In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate conservatively, that the “Affordable Care Act” will increase national health spending $621 billion over the next 10 years.

Even the liberal editors of Obama’s hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, opined, “Let’s delay and rewrite this ill-conceived law. Congress need not start from scratch. Lawmakers can build on what all of us have learned from three years of painful trial and error. Three years of attempting, but failing, to make this clumsy monstrosity work for the American people.”

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Obama blames the fracturing of his ObamaCare coalition on propaganda: “The problem we have is that over the last four years billions of dollars have been spent misinforming people about what this law is about. All of the horror stories that were talked about have not come true.”

But in fact it’s the Left’s dezinformatsia propaganda machine that has spent billions “misinforming people.” And that was before the bludgeoning from a $700 million taxpayer-funded ObamaCare marketing blitz, funneled primarily to Demo friendly ad agencies and media outlets.

ObamaCare also gives the government strong-arm capabilities associated with communist dictatorships. Most notably, Sarah Hall Ingram, who served as commissioner of the IRS office responsible for targeting Obama’s “enemies list” in 2012, is now in charge of the IRS office enforcing ObamaCare mandates. This greatly expands the opportunity to target a much broader “enemies list” with a wide range of tax and regulatory compliance mandates.

Ingram and her cronies have at their disposal an unprecedented amount of personal information centralized under the ObamaCare Data Hub, a compilation database of all manner of information on every American, ostensibly to determine eligibility for subsidized insurance.

With the brewing political battle over the budget deficits and implementation delays as a backdrop, here is the shortlist of ObamaCare bullet points from our previous analysis on this socialist behemoth:

“No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what. My view is that health-care reform should be guided by a simple principle: Fix what’s broken and build on what works.”

  • Tens of millions of Americans are going to get cancelation notices on their private insurance plans, and despite Obama’s assertions to the contrary, he knows the cancelations are coming.

  • Suspension of employer mandate – Obama unilaterally suspended application of the employer mandate portion of the law. This is a clear violation of constitutional authority. Obama has stepped over the Constitution, as he frequently does, to pick and choose which laws or portions of laws he enforces without consultation with Congress. It also throws the law off balance, because it allows employers to skip their obligations but leaves individual consumers and employees beholden to the law.

  • Congressional Exemption – The Office of Personnel Management quietly issued a blanket exception that allowed Congress and congressional staffers to continue to receive their generous health benefits rather than having to enroll in ObamaCare. Louisiana Sen. David Vitter has introduced legislation to reverse the OPM exemption and end the subsidy, as required by the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act, one of Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America provisions. Of course, Congress continues to exempt itself from most mandates and regulations it imposes on the rest of the nation.

  • Political Exemptions – HHS has issued exemptions to hundreds of employers, nonprofit groups, and union organizations for delaying their entry into ObamaCare. The reasons for the exemptions are because these groups will lose employees, money, or members by taking part in the law as it is currently designed. However, the exemptions have been either arbitrary or directly linked to organizations that have publicly supported the law or Obama and Democratic elected officials.

  • Subsidies – HHS lifted all restrictions for people applying for subsidies to pay for federally approved health benefits. These millions of people will therefore be on the honor system in reporting their income or whether they are already receiving assistance from an employer or other federal entitlement – a clear invitation to mass-scale fraud.

  • Insurance premium increases – ObamaCare claims that premiums will not go up. Indiana is predicting a 72% hike; Ohio is predicting an 88% hike. Florida and California project even greater devastating increases.

  • Insurance coverage changes – A July Wall Street Journal analysis revealed that few of the low-rate insurance policies that healthy people now purchase will be available once the law is fully implemented. Individuals will be forced to pay more regardless of their need for coverage.

  • California insurance companies opting out – In the nation’s most populous state, Anthem Blue Cross is opting out of covering small businesses. UnitedHealth and Aetna are opting out of individual consumer insurance pools. This severely threatens the viability of the insurance exchange in the state.

  • Doctors opting out – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in August that the number of doctors opting out of seeing Medicaid patients has tripled in the last three years. Doctors are also limiting the number of Medicare patients they treat, and fewer doctors are taking on new Medicaid patients.

  • Implementation Delays – During the last week of August 2013, HHS delayed signing agreements with insurance companies that would sell plans on the federal exchanges beginning October 1. One reason was the technical difficulties in coordinating the display of information on federal websites.

  • ObamaCare Speak – The IRS rules defining minimum essential coverage do not mention the word “tax” in explaining the penalty for not meeting minimum coverage standards. Instead, the new phrase is “shared responsibility payment.”

  • Power of the Exchanges – Federal and state bureaucrats will have the power to arbitrarily bar from taking part in the insurance exchanges any physician or health care services that don’t meet certain standards. Standards, by the way, are being set by an unnamed and unaccountable panel of experts appointed by the government – in other words, death panels. States and the federal government will also be able to bar the sale of insurance to individuals and small businesses outside the exchanges.

  • Seeking Donations from the Private Sector – This past spring, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius privately reached out to numerous health industry officials, businesses and charitable groups, asking them to provide material or financial donations to aid the implementation of ObamaCare. She wrote letters or made phone calls to private groups, church organizations, and health industry executives. The presumption was that larger organizations were expected to contribute more.

  • “Bending the Cost Curve” – ObamaCare was supposed to bend the cost curve down. But a May report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee compiled from 17 of the country’s largest insurance companies stated that insurance premiums will rise 100% on average, and in some cases as high as 400%. Small businesses will see hikes of 50% to 100%.

  • Employers trimming coverage – Insurance brokers are now designing and packaging bare-bones plans that employers can offer to their employees in order to cut costs. The plans are modeled after traditional catastrophic care plans that offer coverage for only certain circumstances. These plans will remain within the realm of the law because the level of employer-sponsored coverage was never specified.

The Demo strategic solution to ObamaCare sticker shock and employers moving full time employees to part-time in order to remain solvent. They will just raise the subsidies to make insurance “more fair.” They will lower the bar on what constitutes part-time employment. However, let me reiterate: From October 1 forward, Americans of every political stripe who have any issue with health care will tie blame for their discontent like a noose around the necks of Obama and his Democrats, who enacted it, and more recently refused to defund or delay it.

Until a majority of “we, the people” are ready and willing to throw off this tyrannical burden, we will suffer the consequences. As 18th century philosopher Joseph de Maistre wrote, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” Maybe the 2014 elections will provide that majority.

In 1816, Thomas Jefferson provided the words that should form the rallying cry for every conservative candidate on the 2014 ballot: “We must make our election between economy and Liberty, or profusion and servitude.”

Footnote: According to analysis by the Wall Street Journal, when Sen. Ted Cruz unwittingly derailed the conservative House CR strategy, he may have boosted his political capital, but the shutdown is taking a heavy toll on House Republicans. The Journal notes the shutdown eclipsed Obama’s IRS, Benghazi and Syrian scandals, and now has Republicans on the run. For example, in July, Republicans had a 12-point lead with independents. Now Demos lead by nine. And GOP’s favorability rating has dropped by 10 points to 28%. Alexander questioned Cruz’s tactics in “Cruz’s Box Canyon.” He does not question Cruz’s motives, but believes his tactics were wrong, and the resulting Republican infighting is self defeating.

Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis