Democrats’ outrage over Trump ‘sabotage’ of ObamaCare is misdirected

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Washington, DC, October 19, 2017 | comments

By Rep. Mark Meadows, Rep. Ralph Norman, Fox News

If you’ve turned on the news and heard any of the outrage from Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and others on the left accusing President Trump of “vast, pointless sabotage,” you might assume that the president had repealed the Affordable Care Act last week through executive fiat.

Hysteria makes for a nice messaging tactic, but facts are stubborn things. Let’s put the House and Senate minority leaders’ talking points aside and look at what’s really happened with this executive order.

For starters, President Obama’s “cost sharing reimbursements” (CSR’s) to insurance companies were illegal. The executive branch cannot allocate money that Congress hasn’t appropriated. Avik Roy wrote a piece in Forbes this weekend that appropriately characterized President Trump’s decision to end CSR payments as “not a health policy decision, but rather a constitutional one” because “it is simply illegal for the federal government to spend money that Congress hasn’t authorized it to spend.” David French also outlined this idea in National Review when he said, “They [the CSRs] were never lawful because Congress never appropriated the money.”

Ultimately, this alone should be enough to justify the president’s decision. It was not a “sabotage” of ObamaCare, as Schumer and Pelosi called it. It simply restored the rule of law by undoing the unconstitutional actions of the Obama administration.

But looking at Pelosi and Schumer’s accusations in context, it’s ironic they are accusing the president of sabotaging ObamaCare given the fact that they were the ones who sabotaged our nation’s health care by passing ObamaCare in the first place, before even knowing what was in it.

Remember: ObamaCare was sold on false promises that could never be kept. Recall what they told us in order to sell this bill: If you like your health care plan, you can keep it; if you like your doctors, you can keep them; premiums will go down – and for families they’ll go down by an average of $2,500; deductibles will go down; emergency room visits will go down.

All of these assertions were false. Seventy-five percent of the ObamaCare-created state health care co-ops have gone out of business. Premiums have gone up drastically. Deductibles have risen. People lost their health care plans and couldn’t keep their doctors. This law made health insurance costlier and it made the business of offering it riskier.

Sadly, such deception was knowingly used to sell this disastrous health care law. Jonathan Gruber, who the New York Times called the “architect of ObamaCare,” told us as much when he said, “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical to get for the thing to pass.”

It’s difficult to explain your motives any more clearly than that.

But then again, the law wasn’t designed to improve the nation's health care system - it was designed to sabotage and undermine health care as we knew it. Former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid told us as much when he was asked in 2013 whether the country would have to have a health care system that “abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it.” His answer? “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

So let’s be honest about what has happened here: Democrats, led by Pelosi and Schumer, rammed through a government takeover of health care that was nothing more than a leap toward single-payer health care deceptively sold as a market-based solution. And as the system collapsed, it has become evident that ObamaCare, through skyrocketing premium increases and taxpayer-funded CSRs, was designed to fail. Now that it’s failing, they’re blaming Republicans and calling for single-payer.

The Pelosi and Schumer outrage is baseless, but the American people’s outrage is not. They elected President Trump because they are tired of politicians who say one thing and do another. They’re tired of their elected officials making promises and then abandoning those commitments once they get in office. That must end. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said it well: If you’re not strong enough to do what you said and vote to repeal ObamaCare, you don’t deserve to stay in office.

President Trump was right to restore law and order to our health care system. And he was right to remind Congress that Americans are tired of inaction, and want us to repeal ObamaCare. Now it’s the Republican Party’s turn, and we must deliver on our promise. Failure would be truly outrageous.

Republican Mark Meadows represents North Carolina's 11th Congressional District and is chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Republican Ralph Norman represents the 5th District of South Carolina and is a member of the House Freedom Caucus.

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