C O M M E N TA R Y
‘De-funding’ Affordable Care Act:A losing proposition (MCT) During this unquiet summer, President Obama and his advocates have carried on a running argument with Republicans and their allies over the merits of the Affordable Care Act, which he must implement on Oct. 1. By far, the president has gotten the better part of this argument. Having failed to stop enactment, the anti-”Obamacare” faction, relying on scare tactics and false cries that doom is about to descend, has been waging a nonstop crusade against the law ever since the president signed the bill and made it official. Validation by a conservative Supreme Court, instead of tempering their efforts, only increased the opponents’ fervor. By and large, the arguments fall into two categories: (1) It won’t work — even though those parts that have been implemented already are working, and popular. Or (2) it’s too expensive — even though subsidies will help many of the working poor and some of those already insured have gotten rebates from insurance companies that spent too much on administration instead of patient care. The latest notion, supported, among others, by Sen. Marco Rubio, is that Congress should defund “Obamacare” when the fiscal year begins on Oct. 1 or, failing that, shut down the government. That’s the wackiest idea yet, with numerous prominent Republicans speaking out against it. A “de-fund” bill might get through the House, which has cast 40 futile votes to repeal the law, but it would never pass muster in the Senate. And even if it could, the president would never sign it. The effort is DOA. As for the notion of shutting down the government, level-headed Republicans have been warning their hot-headed colleagues in Washington to put a lid on it. Among them are card-carrying conservatives like Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the party’s candidate for vice president last year. Earlier this month, GOP leaders at the National Governors Association also warned against the shutdown effort. They said it would damage the economy and backfire on the party. “I don’t see what it accomplishes,” said GOP Gov. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota. He’s right. Shutting down the government in an effort to prevent 30 million people from getting health care is a losing agenda. Granted, all has not gone smoothly with the implementation of the new health-care law. The government’s self-imposed, two-month test period, August and September, is too brief to take all the kinks out of the system. In the private sector, a major overhaul of such a big system would have taken about six months to assure fewer problems on Day One. In addition, the administration was forced to delay a requirement that all employers with more than 50 employees provide coverage to their workers until 2015. Mr. Obama defended this as a costsaving measure that was done in consultation with the private sector. But otherwise, the new law has been a success. Just ask the 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance and have benefited by being able to keep their children insured if they’re age 26 or younger. Or ask seniors who have been getting discounts on their prescription drugs. Or those who have been getting free preventive care like mammograms and contraception. They are all winners, along with the 30 million uninsured Americans who will henceforth be covered. This editorial first appeared in the Miami Herald.
PAGE 6A WEDNESDAY AUGUST 28, 2013
SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY
Odds growing Constitution will pulverize Obama I’d previously doubted that the deeply concerned bipartisan I sure hope the parents among us are telling our kids what’s rebellion in and out of Congress against President Barack really going on, because the great majority of them aren’t Obama’s contemptuous spying on all of us would have lasting learning in school about the president’s towering lies that impact on him or any of his successors who believe the president NAT HENTOFF he feeds us almost daily. is the rule of law. I spoke too soon, according to this headline in the Aug. 17 edition of the New York Daily News: “Pols rip of its anti-terrorism efforts. Greenwald, who called these figures the NSA over privacy.” “An even larger percentage (70 percent) poll’s “most striking finding,” wrote: “For The article highlighted the current believes that the government uses this anyone who spent the post-9/11 years revival of the personal liberty legacy of data for purposes other than investigating defending core liberties against assaults Tom Paine, Samuel Adams and the Sons terrorism” (“Few See Adequate Limits on relentlessly perpetrated in the name of of Liberty. NSA Surveillance Program,” Pew terrorism, polling data like that is nothing What ignited this political outrage was Research Center for the People and the short of shocking. the previous day’s Washington Post, which Press, July 26). “This Pew visual,” Greenwald continreported on newly released National SecuYou see, we’re a lot smarter than Obama ued, “underscores what a radical shift has rity Agency documents from former thinks we are. occurred from these recent NSA discloagency contractor Edward Snowden. Pew continues: “And despite the insissures.” Obama has made Snowden a citizen withtence by the president and other senior This conclusion leads me to request that out a country until he returns from his officials that only ‘metadata,’ such as Pew Research and other proven reliable haven in Russia to be ultimately judged by phone numbers and email addresses, is pollsters conduct a carefully, calmly wordour Supreme Court, some of whose recent being collected, 63 percent think the goved national poll. It would ask a wide samdecisions have been supportive of the ernment is also gathering information pling of Americans — regardless of their president in denying us our personal priabout the content of communications.” politics and other self-identifying characvacy rights. Citing these figures, Greenwald further teristics — whether they believe there is According to the American Civil Liberexplained the Pew poll’s importance: seriously documented evidence that indities Union, “the thousands of privacy vio“That demonstrates a decisive rejection cates President Barack Obama should be lations cited by the Post were ‘jaw-dropof the U.S. government’s three primary impeached for continually defying his ping’” (“Pols rip NSA over privacy,” Larry defenses of its secret programs: there is oath of office. McShane, New York Daily News, Aug. 17). adequate oversight; we’re not listening to Twice he has defied that oath, when he Besides The Washington Post and the the content of communication; and the swore to “preserve, protect and defend the Daily News, other members of the media spying is only used to Keep You Safe.” Constitution of the United States.” are also awakening to Obama’s belittling Are you listening, Attorney General More than any other president, Obama of We The People. In last Saturday’s Wall Eric Holder? has continually broken the oath of office. Street Journal, Peggy Noonan quoted me I sure hope the parents among us are at length: “There are particular constituNat Hentoff is a nationally renowned telling our kids what’s really going on, tional liberty rights that (Americans) have because the great majority of them aren’t authority on the First Amendment and the that distinguish them from all other peoBill of Rights. He is a member of the learning in school about the president’s ple, and one of them is privacy ... towering lies that he feeds us almost daily. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the “The bad thing is you no longer have the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a As she is busy planning for her likely one thing we’re supposed to have as Amer- 2016 presidential run, is former Secretary senior fellow. icans living in a self-governing republic” of State Hillary Clinton saying anything (“What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy,” about that? And how many of the potenNoonan, The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 17). tial Republican presidential candidates And in addition to the media, more are mentioning Obama’s treating us with Americans are awakening in anger — such wholesale disrespect? across party lines — at being betrayed by Hey, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. their un-American government. What do you think of all this? You ought The reporter who has been facilitating to listen to Sen. Rand Paul, governor. He Snowden’s breaking news, thus disturbing knows the score. Obama’s golf games, is The Guardian’s Having quoted so much from Pew Glenn Greenwald. He’s made Edward Research polls, I feel required to say that, Snowden into a household name. Last as with all polls I reference, I first validate month, Greenwald reported on “major them from other research sources. I have public opinion shifts in how NSA surveilfound nearly all the Pew polls I’ve used lance and privacy are viewed,” further are accurate. troubling our leading-from-behind comHere are more of its findings: “Nearly mander-in-chief. He spoke of “a new comArea lawmakers half of Americans (47 percent) say their prehensive poll released ... by Pew greater concern about government antiResearch (that) provides the most comDistrict 7 State Sen. Larry Boggs, R-Red terrorism policies is that they have gone pelling evidence yet of how stark the shift too far in restricting the average person’s Oak, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Ste. 513-B, Oklais” (“Major opinion shifts, in the U.S. and homa City, OK, 73105, 405-521-5604, civil liberties; 35 percent say their greater Congress, on NSA surveillance and email@example.com concern is that they have not gone far cy,” Greenwald, The Guardian, July 29). enough to adequately protect the country Dig this, Obama. According to the poll: “A ... District 17 State Rep. Dr. Brian Renegar, majority of Americans — 56 percent — DVM, D-Blanco: 504 State Capitol, Oklahoma “This is the first time a plurality has say that federal courts fail to provide adeCity, OK, 73105, 405-557-7381, brian.reneexpressed greater concern about civil libquate limits on the telephone and Internet erties than security since the question firstname.lastname@example.org data the government is collecting as part was first asked in 2004.” District 18 State Rep. Donnie Condit, DMcAlester: 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 500A, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, 405-557-7376, email@example.com
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