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SANTORUM: Obamacare is no care

Repeal and replace health law

The Obama presidency has been disastrous on so many levels. From unemployment to rising energy prices to an appeasing foreign policy, this Administration has exhibited a multitude of failures. Yet, if we’re to talk about the lack of forward vision that keeps us in this economic recession, look no further than Obamacare. Of all legislation developed from the president’s left-wing ideology, Obamacare is the defining policy of his first, and hopefully only, term.

As we await the Supreme Court’s decision on the individual mandate, I write today as concerned about the economic and religious freedom ramifications as I am about the individual mandate. Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe the individual mandate is an undeniable infringement on our constitutional rights. Our Founding Fathers devised a system of government in which individual liberty is protected with restraints on the government. The Constitution enumerated powers that Congress possesses with most of the authority reserved for the states. The Founders never intended that those powers would grow and expand to the point where Congress could one day force Americans to purchase health insurance. Obamacare is an unprecedented exodus from our system of limited government. It was the president’s important legislative priority because he has a fundamentally different view than conservatives have of the proper relationship between the government and individuals.

But putting the constitutionality of the individual mandate aside, the underlying ideology of Obamacare is a time-tested example of what not to do, particularly during trying economic times. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare will result in an estimated 800,000 fewer U.S. jobs. The Heritage Foundation recently determined that Obamacare will result in $52 billion in new taxes on businesses because of the mandate. It will also continue to expand, rather than reduce, our growing federal debt as well as direct dependency upon government through expanded Medicaid rolls and other means.

However, most alarming are the testimonials of businesses who are witnessing Obamacare’s effects firsthand. One owner of 12 IHOP restaurants recently said that he cannot expand his business because he cannot afford the burden of Obamacare. He simply can’t afford to pay a $2,000 penalty for every part-time waitress, so rather than risk paying all of these new fees, this owner has instead canceled his plans to grow and expand his business.

The effects of ObamaCare are entirely predictable. In fact, I have been a consistent and staunch opponent of Obamacare because we are all aware of the failures of government-run healthcare programs around the world. England and Canada, for example, both have government-run health care systems, and both countries lag in medical care and innovative medicine.

Every American should have access to high-quality, affordable health care, with decisions made by patients and their doctors, not government bureaucrats. America needs targeted, market-driven, patient-centered solutions to address the costs and underlying causes of barriers to access rather than a one-size fits all, government-run health care system. We need solutions that freedom lovers and problems solvers such as John Adams would sign into law, not solutions that might be imposed on subjects by King George.

But perhaps the most insulting portion of Obamacare is the effort to destroy our freedom of conscience. Obamacare now demands that Americans will directly pay for ending the life of an unborn child. So no matter if you oppose abortion on conscience grounds, as I do, you will be forced to pay for abortions under the new law. Whether you believe in the practice of abortion or not, your money will help someone get one. Obamacare forces faith-based hospitals and other social service providers and religious organizations to provide employees with health insurance that covers free birth control and sterilization procedures — including the morning-after pill — and it forces them to also pay for abortions.

This also clearly violates current law that has long prohibited some funding for abortion, as well as funding for insurance plans that include abortion. Taxpayer dollars cannot subsidize abortion plans that include elective abortion. Under Obamacare, this new rule would do just that — even for late-term abortions. Simply stated, pro-life Americans will need to pony up money to pay for someone else’s abortion.

What do these major provisions of Obamacare have in common? They allow government to instill rights for the governed rather than protecting their fundamental rights. I stand with the words of the Declaration of Independence, the document founding this great Nation. Our rights come from God, not government. When government defines what rights Americans can have, they can also take those rights away. With Obamacare, the government has told us we must have health insurance. It has taken away the fundamental rights of conscience and religion by forcing you to practice them in the way it wants. In doing so, they are constraining faith-based organization from helping those in need during economic times where they’re needed more than ever.

Let’s be clear. The ideology underlying Obamacare raises important questions that will define our country’s future. Will we be a country that believes we need government to do things for us better than we can do for ourselves? Or will we believe, as our founders did, that rights come to us from God, who also gave us the freedom to build a great and just society not from the top down, but from the bottom up? Freedom and opportunity versus dependency. This is a choice that each generation must make in order to pass on the torch of freedom.

Rick Santorum, a former representative and senator from Pennsylvania, ran as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. He is the founder of Patriot Voices, an organization to mobilize one million conservatives committed to promoting faith, family, freedom, and opportunity.

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