- The Washington Times - Friday, October 29, 2010

Nov. 2 is the nation’s referendum on Obamacare. No other issue has so polarized the public and shed light on the policy failings of the left. The midterm elections represent the last, best hope for millions of Americans who don’t want to see the health care law’s most onerous provisions ever take effect.

While the president’s veto power increases the difficulty of a complete repeal, Republican control of the House - and perhaps the Senate - certainly would deflate Mr. Obama’s Democratic dreams. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, needs an estimated $10 billion to raise a well-equipped army of agents 16,500 strong to implement the individual health care mandate penalties. The congressional power of the purse is sufficient to send that agency into retreat.

“Fall back” has been the most-heard cry on the campaign trail this season. Erstwhile Obamacare devotees have traded their hope-and-change banners for the white flag, ducking the issue and refusing to list votes in favor of Obamacare among their accomplishments. Rory Reid, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Nevada and son of endangered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said the health care bill his father pushed through the Senate is riddled with problems. “There is potential for it to put significant pressure on states because Medicaid rates could go up significantly,” Reid the Younger admitted in a debate.

West Virginia governor and Democratic Senate nominee Joe Manchin went from enthusiastically endorsing Obamacare in the spring to conceding the scheme needs to be overhauled. “There’s a lot wrong in that bill that West Virginians and myself don’t agree with,” Mr. Manchin told The Washington Times’ Kerry Picket. His about-face stopped short of a full repeal, however. “It doesn’t have to be totally repealed unless you totally try to fix it,” he said.

Perhaps the most comprehensive critique can be found in “Fresh Medicine,” a new book by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat. In a year in which he isn’t even running for re-election, Mr. Bredesen pulls few punches. “Congress and the Obama administration have just added over 30 million people into an obsolete and broken system and done little to address the underlying problems; in multiple ways, they’ve made them worse,” he wrote. “Worse” is an understatement. Lower quality health care, higher costs, more complexity and more regulations would be Obamacare’s legacy.

The American people have a chance to stop it from happening. Just as the drubbing of congressional Democrats in 1994 in the wake of the Clinton gun ban has kept overt gun-control measures out of the national spotlight, the 2010 drubbing could kill the desire for health care nationalization once and for all. Already, 71 percent of voters in Missouri have approved a ballot measure that will block implementation of Obamacare at the state level. Big votes tomorrow on similar constitutional amendments in Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma will make it clear once and for all that Obamacare is not long for this world.