By John Hood
RALEIGH – I’ve been arguing the case against ObamaCare for more than a year. I’ve argued that it will raise costs, reduce freedom, and federalize the funding and regulation of a sixth of the nation’s economy. I’ve also pointed out that it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of why medical costs are rising, and would destroy the only trend working against health care inflation – the rise of consumer-driven health care.
But now, I’ve lost my passion for continuing the debate. I’ve lost my motivation to identify the bill’s flaws and failures. I’ve even lost my anger at the arrogance of Washington politicians who think they know best how to manage my medical care and rearrange my personal finances.
Why? Because it’s becoming clear to me that I and other critics of ObamaCare have already won the intellectual battle. We’ve already succeeded in informing the public about the particulars of the bill, and the public now strongly opposes ObamaCare. The more President Obama shouts into his microphone, the more the public comes to oppose his plan. There is no conceivable way that the president or the leaders of Congress can legally enact their legislative monstrosity.
Instead, they are going to cheat.
They are going to employ some kind of legislative trickery to pretend to pass a bill that, they now realize, will never become law through constitutional means. They may use the now-infamous Slaughter Rule, which would allow House members to claim to have voted to amend the objectionable Senate bill without actually having passed it through the House. Or they’ll come up with an even-zanier scheme, including a subsequent reconciliation process in the Senate designed to overcome the very filibuster they’ve used to block conservative bills and nominees in the past.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not planning to recognize such a result as legally binding. I’m not going to pretend to obey any dictates from federal health-care bureaucrats that have never been authorized by a constitutional vote of both houses of Congress. I will not submit to any extra-constitutional order to dismantle the consumer-driven health plan I have set up for my employees.
I will not comply. If the government tries to make me comply, I’ll sue. And I’ll win.
This is not (yet) a banana republic where constitutions are seen as inconvenient impediments to the rule of the despot. This is not (yet) a European-style welfare state where some powerful parliament can exercise legislative, executive, and judicial power all in one stroke. This is a constitutional republic in which government power is divided, its exercise is strictly limited, and our rights are not some generous gift of those in power, to be withdrawn at their whim, but are instead a permanent check on their power.
If the House fails to hold a straightforward vote on the Senate bill that was passed a couple of months ago, that bill can neither become law nor be amended by future congressional action. It will have died. There will be no ObamaCare bill, no new taxes or regulations, and no unconstitutional mandate that Americans buy health plans approved by politicians.
The president and his allies may claim otherwise, but that won’t change the reality of the situation. If they command the rest of us to pretend they have passed the bill, I will not comply.
You shouldn’t, either.
Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation