Defund ObamaCare to Fund the Government
by Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC) & Michael A. Needham
For a lawyer, President Obama has displayed quite a disregard for the rule of law and the separation of powers. As he continues to pick and choose the laws he will enforce and the ones he will ignore, the President should remember the Constitution grants Congress the ultimate “power of the purse.” If Congress, led by the Republican-controlled House, chooses not to fund ObamaCare for the upcoming fiscal year, the Obama Administration cannot implement the law.
Earlier this year, the House demonstrated its ability to set the agenda by successfully resequencing some major fiscal battles to the benefit of the taxpayer. House Republicans were able to lock in sequester savings while also forcing the Senate to pass a budget for the first time in years. While this was a good first step, now is the time to do more.
House Republicans can and should pass a government spending bill ensuring that not another dime is spent on ObamaCare. At that point, House Republicans can say they’ve done their work by passing a bill to fund the government and jumpstart job creation but simply leave out funding for the increasingly unpopular ObamaCare program. The President has said that he will not negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling; Republicans should not negotiate with the President on funding ObamaCare.
Any blame for a government shutdown would then fall on Senate Democrats and President Obama, who would be left defending an unpopular law that they’ve admitted is not ready for primetime. But they will have a hard time winning the public argument because the case against ObamaCare is growing by the day. Over the past several months, it’s become painfully obvious President Obama’s signature legislative achievement is holding back job creation, driving health costs higher, and pulling Americans away from their doctors.
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration announced it would delay the implementation of the employer mandate. Unfortunately, this temporary reprieve will do little to stem the tide of layoffs and hour reductions directly tied to this provision of ObamaCare.
And while the economy slumps under ObamaCare’s weight, the real burden is being born by the very people the law was intended to help. Not only are jobs hard to come by and hours being reduced, but the cost of health insurance continues to rise. The President promised to “cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year.” Yet, Indiana recently announced the cost of the average health insurance plan would increase by 72% next year.
Many of us were skeptical when President Obama guaranteed “If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you've got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor.” Sadly that skepticism was well placed. In South Carolina, the second-largest health insurance company recently announced that they’re closing their doors because of ObamaCare . And not only are doctors more likely to retire because of the new healthcare law, but the government’s website HealthCare.gov kindly informs visitors that they only “may” be able to keep their current doctor.
Presidential guarantees don’t mean much these days, which is why few are rushing to the law’s defense. Even the heads of three major unions -- unions which aggressively supported the law -- now believe the law could “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”
The Obama administration understands two forthcoming dates -- October 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014 -- serve as the lynchpin for ObamaCare’s future. If the law advances past these two dates, it will have a built in constituency, making repeal in pursuit of a patient-driven health care system nearly impossible.
Coincidentally, October 1 also marks the start of the new fiscal year. A full and complete defunding is the only way to halt ObamaCare’s new entitlements before they start. It would also prevent the implementation of the law’s 18 separate tax increases and thousands of job-crushing regulations.
Rest assured some political pundits - even some of our friends - will say this cannot be done.
For us, it’s simple: we need to fund the government, but defund ObamaCare.