Has Congress forgotten Obamacare? All the promises to repeal it mostly faded into the background months ago, even as the health law disrupts our economy.
Fortunately, at least one lawmaker is still trying to undo that disruption. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is forcing the Senate to confront the issue. He’s sponsoring an amendment that would deny money for Obamacare during the upcoming fiscal year (which starts Oct. 1st).
The law was structured to provide $105-billion worth of automatic funding and $1.4-trillion over the next 10 years, so the money gets spent unless Congress blocks it. Stopping the funding is exactly what Sen. Shelby is trying to do.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shelby plans to offer his amendment today as the committee considers the bill that funds the Department of Health and Human Services. His language won’t repeal Obamacare outright, but it prohibits spending any money on it for a year.
“Anyone who believes that the government will save money by spending taxpayer dollars on a new entitlement is living in a fantasy world. In reality, our nation is already struggling to reform existing entitlements in order to preserve them . . .” Shelby said.
Congress may have gone quiet about Obamacare, but businesses haven’t forgotten it. They can’t, because its costs and mandates are already suppressing job growth and causing many employers to plan on dropping health coverage. Even former national Democratic chairman Howard Dean agrees with a McKinsey report projecting that almost a third of businesses will terminate their employee health plans as Obamacare becomes fully-implemented. Instead, taxpayers would pick up much of the costs for the workers’ health care.
The massive 2,700-page health care law is deliberately designed to make defunding and dismantlement difficult. Original estimates counted that it creates 159 new government agencies, but an exact count later proved impossible due to the enormous complexity of the law.
Because the new law also attempts to bypass the normal appropriations process, even defunding it is difficult. But at least Sen. Shelby is trying. His insistence will force his colleagues to take a stand, rather than ignoring the problem while Obamacare does its damage.