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Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Charlie Neibergall, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Michele Bachmann: The health care debate

  • Article by: MICHELE BACHMANN
  • March 31, 2012 - 5:28 PM
This week I had the privilege of observing the Supreme Court's hearings on Obamacare. And while no one can be certain of the outcome of the court's coming decision, what is certain is that the result will determine whether our form of government remains a constitutional republic with limits on government's powers, or whether government will assume limitless powers over every American's essential liberties.

 

At issue is whether government can compel Americans, by virtue of the fact that we breathe, to purchase a product or service which government specifies. The power grab is breathtaking and unprecedented and will change our relationship to government forever.

Obamacare represents the greatest expansion of federal power, the largest entitlement program and the largest social-engineering project of our lifetimes. Obamacare allows the government to tell you what you must purchase. But government should never infringe on personal liberty like this, as it opens a gateway to more egregious government abuses of power that border on tyranny, including socialized medicine.

Obamacare remains widely unpopular with the American public. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that 72 percent believe that the individual mandate, the heart of the bill requiring all Americans to purchase insurance or pay a fine, is unconstitutional. A CNN poll found that 59 percent oppose the law. That opposition is based on the American spirit that burns in us that something is wrong with the government requiring us to purchase goods or services.

My opposition to Obamacare goes far beyond the constitutional questions the court heard. I agree with President Obama that we want health care costs to decrease, not increase. But Obamacare will do the opposite. The bill's own architect, Jonathan Gruber, recently backtracked on the claim that premiums would fall and admitted that they will rise sharply as a result of the reforms in Obamacare.

Furthermore, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare could cost 800,000 jobs and up to 20 million Americans their health insurance. It will move the decisionmaking process between doctor and patient to an unelected board of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. American health care, the highest-quality health system in the world, in which Minnesota plays a critical role, will face ruin.

Obamacare coercively expands Medicaid on the states and robs Medicare of more than $500 billion. It will push seniors into Obamacare, and will collapse the entire health care system into the largest, most expensive, most ineffective government health care bureaucracy America has ever known.

Obamacare is already having devastating effects on the economy, particularly in the area of job creation. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Outlook Survey conducted in July 2011 noted that 33 percent of business owners identified the health care law as either the greatest or second-greatest obstacle to new hiring that employers faced. And by January 2012 another U.S. Chamber survey saw that number rise to 74 percent.

Not only is it keeping employers from hiring, but Obamacare is leading to layoffs. The threshold for being subject to Obamacare's rules is 50 employees. Already, businesses with just above this threshold are laying off workers to get below that number.

We may see even more of an increase in unemployment just prior to Obamacare's implementation. Minnesota's unemployment rate is 5.6 percent, considerably lower than the national average of 8.3 percent. I want nothing to stand in the way of bringing our unemployment rate even lower.

I believe health care can be more accessible to every American while providing the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price. We can improve health care through free-market solutions and by letting people spend their own tax-free dollars on care. But the solution to health care will not be found in Obamacare.

If the court fails to overturn the law, I will continue to press for its full repeal as I did when I introduced the first repeal bill hours after Obamacare's passage. Repealing Obamacare is not cliché for me; it is essential to my core of conviction. Obamacare violates the fundamental rights of freedom at the core of our republic.

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Michele Bachmann, a Republican, represents Minnesota in the U.S. House.

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