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October 28, 2013

From the Watcher's Council Forum

This week we were asked to opine on the future fate of ObamaCare. Here's my view.

Frankly, I have very little hope regarding ObamaCare. I donít see it being overturned by the courts, I donít see it being repealed by Congress, and I donít see it working anything like it was advertised. The most likely outcome I see will be even worse for America than what is currently enacted into law.

Letís be honest ó the ruling by the Supreme Court in 2012, and the opinion written by John Roberts in particular, were a disaster. The notion that the penalties in the legislation are a tax is completely at odds with the legislative history of the bill (such as it is) and the claims of the Obama Administration. The president and his henchmen admitted as much at the time of the ruling and have continued to do so since then. Based upon admissions made within days of the ruling that the Solicitor Generalís office had committed a fraud upon the Court by making the argument that the penalties were taxes and and their arguments that John Roberts and the liberal wing of the Court got the decision wrong, the losing parties in the case should have made an appeal for rehearing under the Supreme Courtís Rule 44. Unfortunately they did not do so, and so it is likely that any future Supreme Court decision will continue to abide by the precedent in place.. At most we will see some nibbling around the edges based upon First Amendment issues and statutory language regarding state vs. federal exchanges, but no judicial flip on the question of constitutionality.

As for repealing ObamaCare, we donít have the votes in Congress to do it, or even delay it one second longer than Obama wants it delayed for. After all, The Democrats control the Senate, Harry Reid is refusing to run that body in a collegial fashion, and there is no way we can get a veto-proof majority in either house of Congress even if Reid allowed the Senate to consider repeal legislation. That means that Obama can stop any Congressional effort to repeal ObamaCare with a stroke of his pen. The same will be true after the new Congress is seated after the 2014 elections ó there is no way the GOP will have the sort of landslide that it would take to get to a veto-proof majority, and without one Obama will still wield the veto pen.

Which leads to the question of the implementation of the law. Weíve already seen that it is a fiasco and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. Software doesnít work, prices are high, and millions are losing the medical insurance they like and the doctors they have been seeing, promises by Barack Obama notwithstanding. By 2016 it will be clear just how big a failure ObamaCare is ó but too many Americans will already be dependent upon it. Republicans campaigning on a platform of repealing ObamaCare will be depicted by the Democrats and their media toadies as seeking to ďtake access to healthcare away from millions of Americans who cannot afford itĒ. Any Republican plan to replace ObamaCare with something else will be attacked by the lapdog media as even worse than the status quo. And into the fray will step Hillary Clinton and other Democrats who will declare that the failure of healthcare reform was the fault of Republicans who ďopposed fixing the systemĒ in 1993, refused to ďwork with us to care for the poorest AmericansĒ in 2009, and whose efforts to thwart ObamaCare after the passage of the law was nothing short of a program of sabotage responsible for the every unpleasantness experienced by Americans due to ObamaCareís failure. Their proposal will be nothing less than a single-payer system ó perhaps ďMediCare for Allď. Presuming that the GOP does not manage to pull off a trifecta by holding the House, gaining a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and winning the White House, we will see the passage of a single-payer bill by the end of 2017. Any likely 2016 winner (and no, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Sarah Palin are not likely winners), regardless of party, will sign the resulting legislation on the basis that it will be better than ObamaCare ó though I question whether that will prove to be the case over the long term. At that point we will have a federal health care system funded by massive tax increases for all but the poorest quintile.

Do I truly see such a dystopian future? Sadly, I do. The choices of the GOP since the adoption of ObamaCare have brought us to a position where we have failed to stop ObamaCare and are unlikely to find ourselves positioned to undo ObamaCare. The result will be the ultimate success of the sort of single-payer system that the Left has been seeking, the resulting expansion of federal power, and the increasing irrelevance of the Constitution as a blueprint for limited government and maximum individual liberty. The Reaganite vision of my youth will have failed, only to be replaced with an Obamunist state that will collapse within two generations.

Other members of the Council have different views -- check them out here!





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