ISTOOK: Obamacare’s bureaucracy a breeding ground for corruption

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With or without those 7.1-million sign-ups, nothing regulates like Obamacare.

And nothing breeds corruption like such massive regulation does.

Each person who signed up can claim their own word among the regulations spawned by the Affordable Care Act. There are 11,588,500 words in those regulations, as counted by CNSNews last fall, which prints out into a stack well over seven feet tall. The implementing regulations make the underlying law look small with only 381,517 words.

But just like a child, the regulations have grown since then. And in much more unruly fashion.

Among those 11.5-million-plus words, President Obama finds plenty of maneuvering room and room for abuse — and therein lies the terrible beauty of Obamacare. Because it depends not on law but on bureaucracy, Obamacare adapts faster than it can be contained by legal or other constraints. By the time any court can tell the president he has exceeded his authority, his creation has morphed again.

Like a designer virus, Obamacare leeches onto its host, which is one-sixth of the economy. Or a parasite might be a better paradigm. Whatever the imagery, the design is that Obamacare cannot be removed without destroying the host. The president as much as said so this week as he mocked those who tried to stop the plan before it accumulated strength. He gloated and said it’s too late.

Citing what he claims as the benefits (and totally ignoring the damage), Mr. Obama predicted national calamity were the law to be repealed. “Millions of people who now have health insurance would not have it. …History is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic security.” Either a mad scientist or a dope dealer would have exulted in similar fashion that society had become addicted to his drug. Dependent.

Despite the expense, burdens and job losses from the law, Mr. Obama scoffed at doomsday notions, saying, “Armageddon has not arrived.” So just because we survived the first six months of Obamacare, we should consider it harmless? Yet he preaches that global warming, which he projects is still several decades away (if ever!), should cause us to upset our entire society. And for that he decrees that we must forgo all immediate remedies, such as the job restorations of affordable fossil energy.

The truth is that Obamacare relies on vast federal regulations because that system empowers Mr. Obama himself. If ever he agreed to allow Congress to suspend or rescind a mandate, then gratitude would be shared with Congress. If the extension of a deadline were approved by Congress, then gratitude would be shared with Congress.

Only when all gratitude is owed to Mr. Obama — and only to Mr. Obama — does he enjoy the thrill of unrivaled power. When people are beholden to him, he can demand a myriad of favors in exchange for granting Obamacare indulgences.

Insurance companies have been told to stay quiet, lest they receive unwelcome scrutiny and punishment. But they have been told to pony up funds to support the pro-Obamacare campaigns, even though President Obama claims, “We didn’t make a hard sell.” He pretends that people signed up for Obamacare because they love it (and they love him), not because they were forced to because their former insurance was canceled and outlawed.

As “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon put it after Mr. Obama made his 7.1-million claim, “It’s amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory and fine people if they don’t do it and then keep extending the deadline for months. It’s like a Cinderella story; it’s a beautiful thing.”

Compulsion is not pretty and it is not the American way. But it is the Chicago way: “Nice little health care you got here; shame if something should happen to it.”

This is why massive regulations are more than job-killers. They are more than a favor factory. Massive regulations like those for Obamacare are the breeding grounds for corruption.

⦁ Former Congressman Ernest Istook’s daily talk show is heard on The Washington Times’ Radio Network. Sign up for his free newsletter at eepurl.com/JPojD.

About the Author
Ernest Istook

Ernest Istook

Ernest Istook spent 25 years in public office, including 14 years in Congress. He was rated one of the top 25 conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Then was a Heritage Foundation fellow and a fellow at Harvard’s Insitute of Politics, where he led a study group on Propaganda in American Politics Today.

Now as a radio host and ...

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