Much has been made of the epic battle that erupted between Congress and the administration during the past two weeks, leading to the first government shutdown in 17 years. Pundits suggest that Democrats won and Republicans lost. Well, let’s examine.
The battle unified Republicans in repeated efforts to keep government open while shutting down Obamacare. The sequester caps, so hated by Democrats, remain intact. Obamacare’s problematic rollout has been highlighted. And the president’s move to take the nation to the brink of default will not achieve his political goal of taking back the House.
Not only were attempts at defunding Obamacare worth the effort, they remain far from over. While the political debate has ended for the moment, like any prizefight there are many rounds, and this fight didn’t end last night.
Washington liberals have so much invested in Obamacare, they don’t dare admit its failures. But there will be a price to pay for such blind allegiance. Something this bad has a life of its own and liberals will never be able to shake that. That’s why, instead of defending Obamacare as its rollout crashed, they kept repeating, “It’s the law,” as if it were chiseled in stone. Hardly.
Obamacare is the law, passed without a single Republican vote and upheld narrowly by the Supreme Court, which reinvented it as a tax to make it constitutional. Now it’s being altered and redefined daily by bureaucrats who churn out endless regulations.
So, yes, it’s the law, but the 55mph speed limit was law. So was a Medicare change that Democrats supported in 1988; it was repealed soon thereafter. Obamacare is just the latest bad law needing repeal.
As I see it, there are three possible paths for a bad law. Leave it alone and watch it implode. Or, lawmakers could come to their senses and strip it from the books. Or, lastly, watch this bad law affect so many citizens next year that they finally demand action from recalcitrant liberals. This has happened before and, I predict, will happen again.
On Jan. 1, the individual mandate will kick in. Time will expose the dangerous flaws in the system’s database. Personal IDs are likely to be stolen and bank accounts compromised, and the part-time, low-pay economy it spawned will continue to weigh on this country.
That’s why we fought Obamacare through this difficult debate, and that’s why this is just one round and why we must continue to fight on.
Rep. John Fleming, R-La., has been a family physician for more than 30 years. This piece originally appeared at USAToday.com.