A while back, I suggested in this space that Obamacare might go the way of McCain-Feingold. That campaign finance “reform” law was not, you will recall, killed by a single lawsuit or act of Congress. Indeed, the general consensus at the end of 2003 was that McCain-Feingold was in perfect health. Less than seven years later it was, for all intents and purposes, dead. It had succumbed to a long series of attacks by determined opponents who were convinced that it was unconstitutional. Much the same thing is obviously happening to PPACA.
The Right Prescription
Obamacare’s supporters have long insisted that it is the “law of the land,” implicitly suggesting that it is immutable and permanent. Evidently, it hasn’t occurred to these people to mention that to their dear leader. His Majesty, Barack I, obviously thinks of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a collection of royal decrees, any one of which may be altered at his pleasure. Thus, in a proclamation issued last week through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, His Highness declared that all U.S. territories are now exempt from most of PPACA’s morass of rules and regulations.
For most of 2014, the Democrats looked on the looming congressional elections with considerable dread. All of the standard indicators portend an unhappy outcome for their party. The voters are deeply dissatisfied with the direction in which the country is headed, the President’s popularity—an important gauge of a party’s prospects in any midterm—is at rock bottom, and most competitive seats are in places where Mitt Romney performed well in 2012. Consequently, the Democrats had abandoned hope of winning back the House and stood in real fear of losing their Senate majority. Then came last week’s Hobby Lobby ruling.
This morning’s Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby will doubtless precipitate a flood of stories from the establishment “news” media claiming that an entrenched cadre of conservative justices have dealt a grievous blow to the reproductive freedom of women and somehow endowed corporations with religious rights. These reports should be ignored as so much hysterical nonsense. What the Court actually said was that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the government to provide closely held corporate objectors to Obamacare’s contraception mandate the same accommodation it already provides nonprofit organizations.
The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby on June 26, and the closer we get to that date the more frantic liberals become. Their fear of a decision in favor of the arts and crafts chain, whose owners have challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare’s contraception mandate on the grounds that it violates their religious liberty, has reached such a pitch that they are making claims that transcend the merely portentous. Their warnings concerning the consequences of a high court win for the Green family, the company’s owners, have now become downright apocalyptic.
Conservatives have long known that Obamacare’s employer mandate, if implemented, will create harmful distortions in the labor market and damage the economy. The mandate will force small employers to rebuff workers they would hire in its absence, and it will incentivize large employers to replace full-time employees with part-timers. When conservative policy experts and business groups first pointed this out, however, Obamacare supporters robotically recited the usual canards about close-fisted capitalists who value profit more than healthy employees. But a funny thing happened on the way to the midterms — the President delayed implementation of the mandate until after the election.
Okay, I admit that I made up the above headline. But, if Nancy Pelosi can blame the VA scandal on George Bush, why can’t I accuse him of shooting JFK? No evidence? Well, if such accusations must be supported by facts, Pelosi would do well to stop braying about Bush. If you compare his actual record on the VA to that of alleged President Obama, the latter will not thank you for it. As is the case with income inequality, fighting HIV/AIDS, and countless other issues, Bush has a better record on the VA than does his feckless successor.
My father was a veteran of World War II, and thus eligible to receive medical treatment at the VA hospital that operated a few miles from our house. He used it exactly once. His experience with what the Veterans Administration calls “health care” was so awful that he claimed to be more in fear of his life within the walls of that VA facility than he had ever been while on active duty in Europe. I confess that, at the time he made this assertion, I assumed he was indulging a penchant for hyperbole. I have long since learned otherwise.
A year ago I compared decorated veteran Matt Sissel to Horatius, a Roman soldier said to have single-handedly defended a bridgehead against an invasion force intent on imposing a tyrannical regime on the free republic. Sissel is the plaintiff in a constitutional challenge to Obamacare due to be heard this Thursday by the D.C Circuit Court of Appeals. And, as the Horatius analogy suggests, he may be the last man standing between us and the legions of Beltway politicians who wish to subject us to the soft despotism of the bureaucratic state.
You can always tell when the Democrats and their media supporters are losing an important political argument — they suddenly announce that the public wants to “move on” to more pressing issues. It is a strategy they first devised in an attempt to prevent President Clinton from being impeached. Indeed, one of their most important front groups, MoveOn.org, was created for the explicit purpose of promoting this meme. The tactic failed, of course. Yet, in their panic concerning the upcoming midterms, congressional Democrats have resorted to it once again in a desperate effort to extricate themselves from the fatal Obamacare debate.