10.15.2013 0

The People v. K Street: The Obamacare Battle

Obamacare_MarxBy Rick Manning

The K Street vultures are out in force.

With both the continuing resolution and debt ceiling extension legislation pending, the tassel loafer lobbying crowd has descended on Capitol Hill with Obamacare fixes and other wish lists to be crammed into any final resolution.

Big Labor wants changes in the way reinsurance is taxed under Obamacare, and suddenly the Senate Democrats have this “important” reform in the still mysterious “compromise” they are fashioning.

Medical device manufacturers like General Electric have never liked the tax imposed on their products through the Obamacare law arguing that it will drive production of the devices oversees and will stifle new life enhancing research.  House Republicans included the elimination of this tax in one of their offers to end the partial government shut down.  Not surprisingly, Senate Democrats reportedly have not included the medical device tax into their legislation, leaving it as a bargaining chip.

The debt ceiling debate is perhaps even worse as every special interest that gets a dime from the federal government is being heard in lawmakers offices asking for “relief” from the sequester that has driven down real dollar discretionary federal spending much to the horror of those who thrive on it.

This almost shark like feeding frenzy trying to get goodies into these two must-pass pieces of legislation is as predictable as the rising sun, and it is why the battle to shrink the size and scope of government seems like a one step forward, two steps back proposition.

Growers of government spending have a financial vested interest in hiring former appropriators, congressional best friends, former staff of key legislators and Administration hacks to ensure that they get their piece of the big government pie.  Each has a “legitimate” need that is worth borrowing money to achieve, and they are pressing all their buttons to get their client’s desires funded, or lower the taxes imposed on their products.

These hordes of special interest lobbyists from business, labor, environmental groups, and a myriad of others dwarf the inside the beltway voices demanding less government and that a disastrous law like Obamacare be stopped.

Ironically, the very health insurance lobby that the left demonizes as being against the law, has already adapted and is most likely one of the behind the scenes voices for the status quo.

Harry and Louise have been long retired as the industry cut deals to ensure their survival under Obamacare.

The next few days are going to be filled with Members of Congress and the Administration gaining carve outs for their preferred constituencies in exchange for their votes.

This is the Washington, D.C. that the people reject, where you have to pass legislation to know what is in it.

Now is the time for House Republicans should stand firm, expose these special deals and demand that Obamacare be defunded or delayed in its entirety.

Obamacare is broken and everyone knows it.  But unlike a vehicle with a bad water pump that can easily be repaired, Obamacare is fraught with design flaws that are beyond repair.

It would be almost criminal to allow it to go forward, while allowing the politically connected protection from the law while the rest of America is forced to deal with it.

So far, House Republicans and nineteen Republican Senators can tell their constituents that they are doing everything in their power to stop this train wreck from impacting their family’s health care.

Perhaps it is time for those Americans to say thank you.  While the easy path is to help your lobbyist buddies and get accolades in the New York Times for your trouble, the hard one is to keep fighting for stopping the law.

The people always say in polling that they want legislators who will fight for what is right, elected officials who stand with them over the powerful special interests.

Today America has this group of legislators and they are being excoriated from all sides for standing up for the people.

The people need to stand up and thank those who are fighting Obamacare against all odds now, or forever hold your peace.

The author is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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