The Fate of ObamaCare: Let the People Decide It
For 225 years, America somehow, against all odds, had miraculously managed to limp along without ObamaCare. But if the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, Democrats will commence telling the American people that the Court’s decision overthrows the “old order,” and that it disrupts the space-time continuum, and that Republicans are holding their healthcare hostage, even though the suit was brought by individuals, i.e. private citizens. The ensuing hubbub could create a political firestorm for Republicans. What to do?
On Friday Feb. 27, I heard a terrific analysis on EIB radio from Rush Limbaugh headlined “What the Obamacare Supreme Court Case Could Mean” (transcript). It’s all about the political ramifications for Republicans if the Court rules for the plaintiffs in King, and what the GOP should do about it. El Rushbo asserts that Obama & Co. would actually relish a defeat, because they could then blame the Republicans. So a win in King poses problems for the GOP. Conservatives need to read Rush’s insightful dissection of what a win in King might entail.
Also, read the excellent article in the Feb. 25 Wall Street Journal that Rush keys off of: “A First Step on the Way Out of ObamaCare” by Ben Sasse, the freshman senator from Nebraska. Sasse offers a solution for Republicans and an elegant strategy in the event that the Court finds for the plaintiffs (emphasis added):
This is neither an ObamaCare fix nor an extension of it. This is temporary, transitional relief -- completely outside of ObamaCare -- to millions of Americans who will suffer because of the administration’s illegal actions. […]
Some of my fellow conservatives believe that winning King means winning everything, and nothing more need be done. I share their conviction, but doubt their strategy. The course of simple inaction is nearly guaranteed to enshrine ObamaCare eternally.
It won’t matter to Democrats if a part of their beloved ObamaCare is found illegal or even unconstitutional; they’ll start blaming the Republican Congress anyway. And not only that, but the congressional Democrats will expect their Republican colleagues to fix the legislation that none of them voted for; like passing a law that says the federal exchange can award subsidies. Sasse has a better idea, and it has two parts. The first part is to pass temporary 18-month subsidy assistance for those affected in the states that did not set up their own exchanges:
Second, Republicans need to unify around a specific set of constructive, longer-term solutions, and then turn the 2016 presidential election into a referendum on two competing visions of health care. Simply opposing ObamaCare isn’t enough. Republicans must address this country’s health-care crises -- cost and uninsurance -- both of which have been exacerbated chiefly by excessive federal meddling.
Real democrats would love Sasse’s solution: let the people decide. But big-D Democrats aren’t real democrats; they like to force things on people.
What Sasse fears is that the governors in the 37 states that did not set up state exchanges will capitulate, “will fold” under pressure:
If governors cave, ObamaCare is never going away. ObamaCare’s command-and-control regime will reduce families’ choices, thwart innovation and chart a path of European-style debt and rationed access to health care.
But with Healthcare.gov, the feds have already established an exchange for the residents of the states that didn’t set up their own exchanges. It would appear to be too late for the states to establish an exchange, unless they want to duplicate what the feds have already done, which would be a further waste of money. As far as establishing state exchanges goes, hasn’t that ship already sailed? (Maybe the states could “deem” that they had set up their own exchanges, like former Speaker Pelosi wanted to “deem” that ObamaCare had been voted on and had passed.)
Limbaugh contends that if the Court sides with the plaintiffs in King, it would “be profound for upholding the rule of law, limiting the administration, upholding the Constitution.” He then goes down a litany of Obama’s lawlessness. But El Rushbo is not sanguine about the Court interpreting the law correctly. Read the transcript of the radio show to find out why. (For those of you in Rio Linda, in the above context “sanguine” means optimistic, not bloody.)
Senator Sasse is taking the lead here, providing an “out” for the Court so they can do the right thing and be true to the letter of the law. Sasse is providing a way for the American people to “repeal” ObamaCare at the ballot box in a national referendum. One would think that Sasse’s proposal is the kind of political solution that the Supreme Court would really go for. I just hope the jurists on the high court have all read it, especially the Chief Justice.
Let the people decide.
Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.