My last three posts have been focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but I wanted to mention the latest political development in regard to the law to federalize health insurance that was approved by a majority liberal Democratic United States Congress signed by President Barack Obama.
I had planned since last year to note how much of the law has been chipped away or delayed, but the delays have become too numerous to keep up with posting about them. Already, two parts of the law (the 1099 requirement for businesses and the CLASS Act for long-term care), have been repealed, while the federal attempt to force States to opt into Medicaid expansion was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. There are numerous efforts by the States to limit the affect of the federalization of health insurance, as well as litigation about various parts of the law.
In addition to its many glitches, the harmful effects of the law, now that it is being partially implemented, are finally being observed, such as the loss of people’s preferred insurance plans, increased premiums, loss of the ability to see one’s doctor of choice and decreased full-time employment as employers lay off workers or reduce them to part-time. Most of these consequences were contrary to what the liberal Democrats had promised. Opposition to the law to federalize health insurance contributed significantly to the Republican gains in the 2010 congressional elections, including the GOP takeover of the House of Representatives – before much of the implementation of the plan had begun.
The latest sign of continued public wariness of the law to federalize health insurance, or “Obamacare,” as it is known in politics, is the upset victory by a Republican in a Congressional special election in
The seat had been safely held by the
GOP, until the death of the district’s longtime U.S. Representative. The victory by the Republican, David Jolly,
was considered an upset because voter registration within the district had
shifted toward the Democrats. In fact, the
district’s electorate had voted for the Obama-Biden ticket in both 2008 and
2012. In addition, the Democratic
nominee was a statewide official and the Democrats, sensing victory, heavily
outspent the Republicans.
The reason the Republican won was primarily because he campaigned for the need to repeal and replace “Obamacare.” Oftentimes, special elections for Congress are harbingers of the general election. The special election in
Florida clearly suggests that voters
disapprove of the federalization of health insurance and are wiling to elect
Republicans to make drastic changes to the law.
It also suggests they might hold incumbent Democrats accountable for the
Obamacare fiasco and thus deprive them of their majority in the U.S. Senate, in
addition to keeping Republicans in the majority in the House and possibly
adding to their majority. A GOP majority
in both chambers of Congress would effectively limit what little mandate Obama
had and further require him to make serious compromises, not only to reform his
signature legislation, but to reduce the debt in a fiscally responsible manner
without raising taxes or gutting defense.
The Republican victory in the Florida special election will encourage other GOP nominees to campaign against Obamacare and provide them the opportunity to promote market-oriented, fiscally responsible, constitutional reforms, such as allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines and reforming tort law to reduce medical liability insurance rates, which, in turn, would lower healthcare costs.