- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

To satisfy the enduring public judgment that Obamacare will harm the nation, there are three paths to repeal: Congress, the courts and the ballot box. The White House has signaled a willingness to expedite resolution by the Supreme Court of the constitutional question at the same time that it ignores or downplays those remedies available to the citizenry.

Despite the administration strategy of saying little or nothing about the unpopular health care legislation in recent months, the American people have not forgotten. More than 1.5 million people from every corner of the country have responded to televised messages by former Gov. Mike Huckabee and signed petitions demanding immediate repeal. Those petitions started arriving at the Senate Wednesday.

Enacted with apparent contempt for our most cherished principle, “consent of the governed,” this legislation is a tribute to false advertising, ham-fisted legislative arm-twisting and just plain bad public policy, all of which further inflame public opinion. This law does real damage to the nation’s finances, desperately needed job creation and health care itself.

How many times were we promised by Mr. Obama that those who like their own doctors and coverage could keep them? But several recent surveys reveal the truth - that as many as half of all employers will drop coverage because paying the fines is cheaper than expanding coverage. Those dropped will find themselves in health exchanges - without their own doctors. They’ll be hard-pressed to be seen by a new doctor because you can’t add 30 million new patients with the current supply of physicians without creating crowded offices, long lines and a lot of dissatisfaction. The fact that as many as 30 percent of doctors say they’ll retire or do nonclinical work will make the coming catastrophe even worse.

How about those 400,000 jobs Obamacare would produce “almost immediately,” according to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s promise? Instead, all net job growth has stopped, wiping out the anemic but positive trend toward recovery that had begun. It’s little wonder - the law requires that small businesses that grow beyond 50 employees provide the substantial added cost of greatly expanded health coverage for every employee or be subjected to substantial fines. The small-business engine of job growth has stalled, and Obamacare is a major factor.



Even House and Senate Democrats are beginning to question the wisdom and the politics of an unelected board beyond the reach of the courts or the legislature deciding what treatments will be available. Great Britain, with a population of just 55 million, has 800,000 people on waiting lists for surgery. Examples abound around the world. Health care costs cannot be reduced in a government-managed system without draconian limitations that are simply unacceptable to most Americans.

As our great debate about the proper role of government gains more and more immediacy, Mrs. Pelosi’s advice to a roomful of San Francisco musicians that they could quit their day jobs to pursue their artistic dreams because their health care would be covered was an admission of a philosophy most working Americans find not only flat wrong but insulting. That so many Obamacare waivers were granted to posh restaurateurs and other businesses in her district and to the very unions that most acidly disdained opponents of Obamacare suggest an arrogant double standard paid for with other people’s money.

Our petitioners are demanding relief. If they don’t get it in the legislature, they’ll look for a remedy at the polls. Sooner or later, Senate Democrats will have to admit the obvious: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act makes health care more expensive, not less, undermines most Americans’ access and quality of care, interposes the government between doctors and patients, hurts senior citizens and is killing economic recovery. Best intentions or not, it was the wrong medicine for the nation at the worst possible moment.

Ken Hoagland is chairman of RepealItNow.org and Restore America’s Voice Foundation.

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