Saturday morning, fresh from his latest victory over the rule of law, President Obama delivered his weekly address to the bored technicians and sycophantic aides who make up most of the audience for this anachronistic performance. His theme was as predictable as it was Orwellian: “The Affordable Care Act is working, and it is here to stay.” The first half of this assertion fails to pass the laugh test. And, for those who believe that the whims of the Supreme Court are somehow permanent, I recommend a little research into another SCOTUS ruling much celebrated by Democrats—Plessy v. Ferguson.
But Obamacare is not harmless. That it is a failure by every standard set forth by its apologists is of no importance to the President or his fellow Democrats. They never cared what effect the law would have on the cost, quality, or availability of American medicine. It was never really about health care. This is why they have been willing to revise it more than 50 times to keep it alive. What they wanted was power over our daily lives, and they knew that gaining control over our medical system was the fastest route to that destination. It was easy to sell as a human right and offered a handy pretext for trampling genuine rights.
And the President’s minions are making full use of that pretext. A typical case in point has been Obamacare’s notorious contraception mandate. Despite the Obama administration’s Supreme Court defeat last year in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, bureaucrats from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have continued their attempts to bully obviously exempt entities into obeying the mandate. The Court has had to intervene six times since the Hobby Lobby ruling to stop HHS lawyers from behaving as if the ruling had never been issued and forcing organizations to comply with the mandate.
Meanwhile, these very HHS apparatchiks are promoting the pro-abortion agenda of the Democrats by willfully refusing to enforce the law’s explicit language precluding the use of public funds to pay for elective abortions. Last fall, a GAO report found that 1,036 health plans sold through Obamacare exchanges “cover non-excepted abortion services.” This brazenly flouts the will of the electorate. A majority of the public objects to abortion, according to a number of recent surveys, including a CNN poll conducted last year showing that 56 percent of the taxpayers don’t want their money used to pay for them.
But the illegal funding of abortions is by no means the only instance in which the Obama administration is misappropriating public money. The Washington Examiner reports that the White House is stealing money meant for taxpayer refunds and using it to pay for an obscure Obamacare program designed to funnel subsidies to people who buy insurance coverage outside of a state or federal insurance exchange.
“The administration is funding the program illegally by using a pot of IRS money used for tax refunds,” says Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., who leads oversight efforts on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Sadly, the skullduggery doesn’t stop with stealing taxpayer refunds or using public money to pay for abortions. And, if you’re so inured to government misuse of your taxes that it no longer feels like an infringement of your rights, how about violations of your privacy? If you go to a hospital or buy health insurance, it is against federal law for those entities to disclose any of your personal information to outside parties. But they’re not the government. Earlier this year AP reported, “The government’s health insurance website is quietly sending consumers’ personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising and… marketing.”
That’s right, marketing. Another requirement that the government imposes on hospitals and insurers is that they destroy old records after a certain period of time. But they’re not the government. AP also reports, “A government data warehouse stores personal information forever on millions of people who seek coverage under President Obama’s health care law, including those who open an account on HealthCare.gov but don’t sign up for coverage.” Yes, forever. And this system, called MIDAS, went live without an adequate risk assessment according to the Government Accountability Office.
In a way, though, all of this is small change. Yes, it’s bad that the government uses Obamacare as a pretext to gather and keep intimate personal data on you, to distribute this information without your permission, to take your money by force via the IRS and use it illegally, to impose mandates on you that clearly violate your First Amendment religious rights, ad infinitum. But the most important thing you are losing pursuant to this law is the right to representative government. Last Thursday, the Supreme Court caved to political pressure from the President and the press to rewrite the clear text of an Act of Congress.
That means your elected representatives are unable to carry out your will. That reduces the votes you cast for your Congressmen and Senators to a kind of quaint ritual. As Justice Scalia’s dissent in King v. Burwell puts it, “The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress ‘all legislative Powers’ enumerated in the Constitution. They made Congress, not this Court, responsible for both making laws and mending them.”
It’s not too late to stop this descent into tyranny. Obamacare certainly isn’t working and it is not here to stay—if we really want to get rid of it. But it is a monster and it will devour the republic if we let it. It’s time to kill this thing, whatever it takes.