08.28.2013 0

A time for choosing

BoehnercareRally8-27-13By Robert Romano

“If he allows Obamacare to be funded, he’ll own it — and so will every House Republican that votes with him. Now is the time for choosing.”

That was how Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens described how political blame will be assigned when Obamacare goes into effect in January 2014. If House Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner — with the constitutional power of the purse — fund the health care law, it is they who will bear responsibility for its implementation.

At Boehner’s Troy, Ohio district office on Aug. 27, Mehrens joined several other free market and limited government leaders, along with a crowd of activists to urge the Speaker to attach the “Defund Obamacare Act” by Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) to an upcoming vote on the continuing resolution.

The rally was themed on “pulling the plug” on Obamacare, with speaker after speaker emphasizing if the House funds Obamacare, Republicans will own it.

At issue are several important provisions in the health care law, including the individual and employer mandates, the Medicaid expansion, and the insurance subsidies under the state exchanges. If the law is not changed, they will go into effect in January, and they will be funded.

Upon full implementation, those provisions will cost taxpayers $157 billion a year from 2015 through 2019 according to the Congressional Budget Office, and that’s just for starters. In the following decade, Obamacare will cost more than $2 trillion — money that must be borrowed and printed at a time when scant revenues are not enough to even cover existing entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.

As many as 86 million Americans will for the first time qualify for taxpayer-funded health insurance under the new scheme either through Medicaid or the exchanges, creating a political constituency that all but guarantees Obamacare will never be repealed once it goes into effect. They join the other 107 million Americans already on Medicaid and Medicare.

This will tip the scales permanently in favor of government dependency. And it will add tens of trillions of dollars to the national debt.

Once these millions start receiving benefits, every political campaign thereafter will be about achieving ever more wealth redistribution from the printing press, creditors, and taxpayers.

Republicans may choose to deny the political reality this will create, but the American people are well aware of the danger of a clear majority of the population being dependent on government health benefits.

BoehnercareIn the coming decades, limited government will remain ever more elusive in an environment where for millions it will be more lucrative to live on government-provided welfare and health insurance than it is to work.  Taxpayers will borrow $1 trillion a year to pay for these benefits based on nothing more than a pleasant fiction that they can perpetually use a printing press that won’t always be available.

Either, the House can attempt to defund Obamacare today, or one day it will be defunded when the U.S. experiences a Soviet-like collapse.

Critics of the continuing resolution strategy counter that since most of the funding for Obamacare is provided for under so-called “mandatory” spending — qualifying for coverage under the law rather than annual appropriations votes — even if the government were shut down, the law would still be implemented. The Medicaid expansion and the insurance subsidies under the exchanges would still be funded.

That is actually true, but it may yet still be the only way to successfully wage a showdown against the law. And it might be the last chance before the benefits kick in — the only way to stop the slide into a full-blown welfare state.

If the government gets shut down as a result, at least the House took a stand. They can take that case to the American people in 2014. If the people prefer Obamacare, they’ll reward Democrats with a House majority and the shutdown would end. If they actually want to get rid of Obamacare, they’ll reward Republicans with their electoral support, and affirm the shutdown and demand that the health care law be repealed.

At least then the American people would have a choice in the matter. Without any action, Republicans are already accepting the law. In doing so, they leave voters with little reason to vote for them.

Every generation faces a crisis when they have to make a decision on whether it’s worth going to the limit for. In 1964, Ronald Reagan’s “A time for choosing” speech largely referenced the Cold War and the battle against communism but also against an encroaching federal leviathan.

And today’s fight against a rapidly expanding government is no less critical to securing the freedoms of every American. Then, as now, as Reagan articulated, this is about “whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

Today Republican leaders like Boehner face a very similar choice on Obamacare. About whether to fight — or to surrender.

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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