The wheels are coming off ObamaCare. The law was passed against the will of the American people, and it faces serious challenges in the court of public opinion and in courts of law.
A recent CNN poll shows 56 percent of Americans oppose the health overhaul, with only 40 percent supporting it — virtually unchanged from March when the legislation passed. Rasmussen’s latest poll of likely voters shows 58 percent want the law repealed. The provision in the law that will require every American to have health insurance or pay a fine is the most unpopular. A new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 70 percent disapprove of this requirement.
It is just not possible to impose an expensive requirement on Americans with this level of opposition.
Voters are registering their resistance in elections as well. In Missouri, 71 percent of voters — Republicans and Democrats —supported a ballot initiative that would prohibit the government from requiring people to have health insurance or face penalties.
Activists in Colorado report having gathered enough signatures to put a Right to Health Care Choice initiative on the ballot this fall. And citizens in Oklahoma and Arizona are collecting signatures to put the question before voters in their states.
Meanwhile, 21 states have filed suit against the federal government, challenging the constitutionality of the mandate that all individuals must purchase government-approved health insurance or face penalties. The key issue is whether or not the mandate people must buy government-approved health insurance is a tax or not.
Typically, taxes are used to generate government revenue. But the health insurance mandate is different. It would use taxes to regulate conduct, which goes beyond the historical bounds of tax policy. That’s not just unusual. It’s entirely unprecedented under the Constitution. The American people are not being fooled by the sugar-coated sales campaign for this new law. They fear the damage it will do to our health sector and economy.
When the president signed his health overhaul into law last March, he declared its passage “a testament to the persistence — and the character — of the American people.” The real testament to their character and persistence is their ongoing fight against it.
This doesn’t mean we don’t need health reform. We do. But it should be a step-by-step approach that builds on the strengths of the U.S. health sector, that doesn’t disrupt coverage for millions of people, and that provides the right incentives for more people to get affordable health coverage. That will be Job One in a new Congress.
Published in the Sun Sentinel, September 10, 2010.