- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Three days after the second anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments about its constitutionality. As the author of the original bill to repeal Obamacare, I am convinced that no decision in recent history will have a more profound impact on our country. I do not make that assertion lightly, even in the shadow of other landmark cases.

If the Supreme Court chooses to affirm Obamacare, it will be an endorsement of the single largest expansion of government entitlements, government power and government social engineering in American history. No one should believe Obamacare is simply a bill to increase health care coverage. Instead, it is this president’s method of exacting social change on the fabric on our country. For this reason, I introduced a bill to repeal it minutes after its passage. Additionally, this is why the Supreme Court should find its mandate unconstitutional.

The Obama White House and campaign (sometimes one and the same) are fully aware of the significance of the decision and recently launched their own public-relations campaign to demonstrate public support for the bill. Yet the bill remains widely unpopular with the American public.

A new CNN poll found that 59 percent oppose the law. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that 72 percent think the individual mandate, the heart of the bill, requiring all Americans to purchase insurance or pay a fine, is unconstitutional. That belief is based on the American spirit, which burns in each one of us, that there is something wrong with the government requiring us to purchase goods or services - unprecedented in U.S. history. It was this violation of “spirit” that sparked the Tea Party movement’s strength and was the impetus for my founding of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus.

The bill already is having devastating effects on the economy, particularly in the area of job creation. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Outlook Survey conducted in July 2011 noted that 33 percent of business owners identified the health care law as either the greatest or second-greatest obstacle to hiring new employees. By January 2012, another U.S. Chamber survey saw that number rise to 74 percent.

While the president promised more Americans would be covered, causing insurance premiums to decrease, just the opposite has been the case. The bill’s own architect, Jonathan Gruber, recently backtracked on the claim that premiums would fall and admitted that they will rise sharply as a result of the “reforms” in Obamacare. We were warned just a few days ago by the Congressional Budget Office that 20 million Americans may lose their employer-based health care coverage when Obamacare is fully implemented because employers would rather pay a fine than provide the level of expensive insurance mandated by Obamacare.

We are only beginning to scratch the surface of Obamacare. Never before has a piece of legislation empowered an unaccountable, unelected official, in this case the secretary of health and human services, to wield such enormous regulatory power. We have just recently seen the first evidence of the abuse of that power, including the mandating of coverage for the morning-after pill and rules forcing Roman Catholic institutions to provide coverage for contraceptives. This provides a window on how the effects of the bill will extend well beyond health care to become the biggest playground for the left in social engineering and recasting of American society.

Obamacare is the gateway to socialized medicine. There is no doubt that Obamacare will collapse the health insurance and medical system we have now and will lead to a single-payer, socialized system as millions lose their employer-provided insurance and millions more are unable to pay skyrocketing private insurance rates. The mechanisms to facilitate this are already in the law, such as the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will lead to a rationing of care because of deep cuts it is charged with making to Medicare. Board members begin their task $500 billion in the hole, as Obamacare removes that amount from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. This is but one way Obamacare will lead to the collapse of the greatest health care system in the world, killing quality care for all Americans.

But the heart of Obamacare is the individual mandate, the unconstitutional requirement that all Americans must purchase health insurance, and that is the issue the Supreme Court will decide in the coming weeks. Never has the government made such a requirement. Obamacare isn’t about a right to health care. It is about the government telling you what you have to do or, more precisely, what you must purchase. Government should never infringe on personal liberty like this, as it opens a gateway to more egregious government abuses of power that border on tyranny.

That is why the court must kill Obamacare by cutting out its heart and killing its roots. If the individual mandate is found unconstitutional, the entire law is moot. What liberals have done through Obamacare is fan the flames of government tyranny and threaten the God-given liberty of every American. This is why Obamacare must be repealed, root and branch.

Rep. Michele Bachmann is a Minnesota Republican.

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