One year ago, the Supreme Court upheld a law that radically transforms our health care system in a way that continues to frighten and beleaguer most Americans.
Friday is the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. The 5-4 decision declared that the federal government could force Americans to buy health insurance — not just any insurance, but insurance covering procedures dictated by the federal government. Obamacare established a labyrinth of red tape and bureaucracy, colossal even by Washington standards, and most important — penalizes the uninsured through the individual mandate.
Writing the majority opinion, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. declared that the individual mandate could be considered a tax and that the power to tax was also the power to enforce the law. Dissenting Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. vehemently disagreed, writing in their dissent: "[W]e cannot rewrite the statute to be what it is not. [W]e have never — never — treated as a tax an exaction which faces up to the critical difference between a tax and a penalty, and explicitly denominates the exaction a 'penalty.'"
I think that Obamacare is still unconstitutional. I still think that Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito got it right.
One year later, the federal health care law is even more concerning. In addition to potentially causing upward of 20 million Americans to lose their private health insurance policies, it could destroy an estimated 800,000 jobs.
The particular jobs that Obamacare creates are perhaps the most troubling.
Obamacare authorizes 16,000 more jobs at the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS also is given the authority to enforce and police compliance with Obamacare. The same agency that admittedly targeted groups with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names now is given the responsibility of making sure our individual health care plans fall under the guidelines and restrictions imposed by this administration.
In June, many considered Obamacare a nightmare. Surveying the ramifications of this law a year later, it looks even worse. Even Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, calls it a "huge train wreck."
After the IRS scandal became public, President Obama declared his "outrage" and vowed that those responsible would be held "fully accountable." Yet nothing has been done.
Instead, we are using taxpayer dollars to reward IRS agents with $70 million in bonuses. So the IRS gets millions in bonuses and thousands of new jobs. Meanwhile, they and the other Washington bureaucrats implementing Obamacare, along with the Supreme Court and the law's namesake, are exempt from key parts of the Obamacare mandates.
Americans are not enthusiastic about the so-called Affordable Care Act, to say the least. Gallup reported this week: "Americans are more negative than positive about the health care law's future impact on their family and on the U.S. in general. Forty-two percent say that in the long run, the law will make their family's health care situation worse; 22 percent say it will make it better. And almost half believe the law will make the health care situation in the U.S. worse."
A Fox News poll this week showed that "58 percent of voters favor repealing all or some of President Obama's signature legislative achievement."
Faith in Obamacare seems to correlate with the public's increasing overall distrust in government. Americans have no reason to trust an administration that admittedly engaged in targeting individuals based on their personal beliefs and views. They also have good reason to fear what the government may do to wreck everyone's health care.
It is more than a little worrisome that the IRS is charged with the enforcement of Obamacare. The IRS union gave more than $1 million to Democrats over the past two election cycles. Conservatives are justified in worrying about the IRS being in charge of their health care.
A year after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obamacare, its full, disastrous impact still looms ahead.
Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees.