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Constitution Day and the Obamacare Funding Debate

On September 17th, 1787 the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania adopted and signed the Constitution of the United States of America and sent it to the states for ratification. As we mark the 226th anniversary of the Constitution’s adoption this week, the US Congress is going to engage in a debate that may very well determine the future adherence of this nation to that historical document that has so ably guided us for these 226 years: the debate over the funding of Obamacare. A recent NBC News / Wall Street Journal survey indicates that 45 % of our fellow Americans believethat Obamacare will significantly damage the American healthcare system, while only 23% believe that it will have a positive impact on the future of healthcare in this country. This is a staggering margin against Obamacare, which underscores the remaining deep-seated opposition to this healthcare plan.

President Obama won reelection in 2012 in spite of his healthcare plan, not because of it. This is a fact that Congressional Republicans would do well to remember as the battle over federal spending heats up this week on Capitol Hill. With just days to go before Obamacare is set to nearly fully implement, as the exchanges are set to open on October 1st, there is no greater issue on the American political landscape. It is incumbent upon conservative members of Congress to heed the voice of the people, which is so eloquently expressed in the polling numbers I cited above from NBC / WSJ. When it comes to Obamacare’s defunding, this is one of the rare exceptions in American public life when good policy is also good politics. This is a winning issue for the GOP going into the 2014 midterm elections, which could give the Republicans control over the Senate on the way to the White House in 2016. This will only be the case, however, if the GOP contrasts itself on the issue of Obamacare, by defunding this monstrosity and returning healthcare decisions to the states and to the people.

The most obvious answer to rising healthcare costs is to reduce the government’s role in the healthcare marketplace. The already-high costs Americans are paying are the direct result of too much government interference, thus it makes no sense to believe that further interference (in the form of Obamacare) is going to alleviate the problem. Market-driven reforms, not more federal mandates, are the key to freeing up healthcare markets so that all Americans, of all backgrounds and income ranges, have access to quality, affordable care. As it stands with Obamacare, there’s nothing affordable about the so-called “Affordable Care Act.” A necessary first step toward restoring access to the American healthcare system for all Americans is getting government out of the way; this begins by defunding Obamacare completely.

I would echo the sentiments of South Carolina’s junior Senator, Tim Scott, in calling for not only a vote against Obamacare funding in a short-term “continuing resolution,” but against any sort of short-term continuing resolution altogether. These CRs, as they are called, are the fruit of Washington’s dysfunction in the first place; they are short-term spending packages designed to hold-over the federal government until a budget can be adopted and put in place. The problem is that these CRs have been used for over FIVE YEARS, as the government has not operated with an actual federal budget since the end of the Bush Presidency. This is inexcusable and irresponsible, as any American who has ever run a household or a business clearly understands.

I would call on Congress to oppose any continuing resolutions, regardless of whether or not they fund Obamacare, until the Congress can have a real debate over spending and debt, including future spending with regard to Obamacare. It’s time to stop kicking the can down the road, while piling-up a mountain of debt for our children. As we reflect on the 226th anniversary of the Constitution’s adoption in Philadelphia, it is high time for the Congress of the United States to uphold that same constitution in Washington.

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