By Larry Huss,
When Congress convenes in January, a new Republican majority will be in control. There are a host of problems that President Barack Obama has ignored or made worse that the new Congress needs to address. In the normal course of business I would put the economic and national security issues at the top of the list.
But, in the aftermath of disclosures about the process used to secure the enactment of Obamacare, I believe repeal of Obamacare should take precedence. (For purpose of this discussion I am agnostic about the benefits that may have arisen from Obamacare.) The corruption of the legislative process threatens the very foundations of democracy and as such the trust of the American people in its government. It is no wonder that an overwhelming number of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. A new Rasmussen poll pegs the number at seventy-six percent.
Let’s review the process.
The only thing we knew at the time of passage of Obamacare was the massive amount of public funds expended to secure votes in the United States Senate and the laundry list of exemptions for Mr. Obama’s supporters – principally the public employee unions. The recent landslide defeat of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) reminds us of the $300 Million “Louisiana Purchase” in additional federal funds to acquire Ms. Landrieu’s vote. (According to Forbes magazine that figure has grown to $4.3 Billion as a result of a drafting error.) So enraged were the voters of Louisiana that they have been waiting for at least two years to exercise their revenge on Ms. Landrieu. And then there was the $100 Million “Cornhusker Kickback” for Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) to secure his vote. And they just lead the list. It isn’t the first time that politicians have raided the federal treasury to “buy” votes but its shear size is staggering. Add to that the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent by Mr. Obama on a publicity campaign in support of Obamacare. At one time the very thought of expending taxpayer dollars in support of or opposition to a political issue was an anathema but that building block of democracy has long since been crushed and discarded by both parties.
Wait, there was one other thing we knew at the time of the passage – not one single Senator or Representative (all Democrats) who voted for the measure had read the bill or knew what was in it. Not one. Not a single one. They had ceded their authority to Mr. Obama and to his assurances of what was in Obamacare.
Now four years into the aftermath we have learned a lot about Obamacare and the process for its adoption. The first thing we learned is that Mr. Obama lied to the American people about the very fundamental structure of the new healthcare system. Contrary to what Mr. Obama said, if you like your physician you CANNOT necessarily keep your physician – ten of thousands of people have had to find new physicians because plans approved under Obamacare do not include your current physician. And contrary to what Mr. Obama said, if you like your healthcare plan you CANNOT keep your healthcare plans. Over five million people have lost their healthcare plan and millions more are slated to lose their plans in the ensuing year as large employers becomes subject to Obamacare. We now know that Mr. Obama knew this when he lied and that he possessed the documentation demonstrating this, which he then withheld from Congress and the public.
We now know that the average American was NOT going to see their healthcare premiums reduced by $2500 per year and were, in fact, going to experience dramatic increases in premium payments (in excess of $2500 per year) under Obamacare. We now also know that Mr. Obama knew this when he lied and that he possessed the documentation demonstrating this, which he then withheld from Congress and the public.
We now know from statements by Jonathan Gruber, a consultant to Mr. Obama and the Administration from the inception of the planning for Obamacare and who participated at length in the formulation and drafting of Obamacare, that the financial stability of the plan was predicated on having young, healthy people pay excessively for coverage that they, for the most part, did not need in order to support those who were older and in poor health. We know further that Mr. Obama knew this and withheld this information from Congress and the public. As Mr. Gruber stated:
“If you have a law that makes explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it wouldn’t have passed. . . “the lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and, basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever. But basically that was really critical to getting the thing to pass.”
We now know that so much information was withheld from Congress and the public that the “chief sponsor” of Obamacare, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) declared Obamacare to be a “train wreck” as the truth became known. It doesn’t speak very highly of Mr. Baucus that he knew so little about legislation that he sponsored but then Mr. Baucus has never been recognized as one of the brightest members of Congress and, in this instance, he joins the other sixty Democrat senators who voted for its provisions.
The list of sins could go on for pages but in summary what we now know is that the President of the United States lied about virtually every aspect of Obamacare and that Congress ceded its responsibility to learn anything about a bill that they introduced, supported and passed into law. In essence through lies, withholding of information, and cessation of congressional power, Obamacare is much in the nature of an imperial decree. It is not unlike the edicts of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei which are then rubber stamped by is putative legislative chamber.
Congress has experienced a steady decline of exercising its authority as a separate branch of government. It began with the use of “target legislation” in which Congress expresses a vague goal and leaves the details of execution and implementation to the Executive Branch. As a result, bureaucrats are now in control and the vast discretion granted them by Congress has freed congressional members from criticism regarding particular rules arising from the ceding of their legislative duties. And in the process have subjected us to the power of faceless and non-elected bureaucrats who recognize that they are immune from accountability by the Congress or the courts.
So who is to blame in all of this? That’s pretty easy – Mr. Obama for deliberately lying and withholding information and Congress for failing to perform their own due diligence. As a whole they have corrupted the democratic process. And in this instance the only way to restore that democratic process and recover the trust of the American people is to repeal the very instrument that gave rise to the corruption.
As a side note, one of the largest casualties of this abomination has been the re-alienation of young people’s trust in government. Mr. Obama titillated the hopes of young people with the expectations of “hope and change.” Their cynicism in the democratic process had led them to largely ignore elections but Mr. Obama rode to victory on a wave of their optimism that a new day of truth and access was upon America. What they learned is that Mr. Obama was another lying politician grounded in the chicanery of Chicago bullyboy politics. They learned that the very person in whom they placed their trust withheld from them his intention to impose an extraordinary financial burden on them to fund Obamacare. They learned that Mr. Obama, like so many politicians before him, was willing to lie, cheat and abuse their trust from the very start. As a result, those same young people have again retreated from participation in the electoral process as evidenced by the most recent election.
And while Mr. Obama may believe that the sixty percent of voters who did not cast a ballot were providing implicit support for him, the truth is that they are so disgusted with him that they may never vote again. Mr. Obama you have perverted democracy.
Please, Mr. Obama, leave – and take Joe with you.