Obamacare Back in Focus

The National Review recently published an article by Charles Krauthammer entitled “Obamacare: The Reckoning“.  The article digs into three different events that have once again brought Obamacare into the focus of public attention: “Now it’s back, summoned to the national stage by the confluence of three disparate events: the release of new Congressional Budget Office cost estimates, the approach of Supreme Court hearings on the law’s constitutionality, and the issuance of a compulsory contraception mandate.”

First there is the cost issue:

Obamacare was carefully constructed to manipulate the standard ten-year cost projections of the CBO. Because benefits would not fully kick in for four years, President Obama could trumpet ten-year gross costs of less than $1 trillion — $938 billion, to be exact.

But now that the near-costless years 2010 and 2011 have elapsed, the true ten-year price tag comes into focus. From 2013 through 2022, the CBO reports, the costs of Obamacare come to $1.76 trillion — almost twice the phony original number.

It gets worse. Annual gross costs after 2021 are more than a quarter of a trillion dollars every year — until the end of time. That, for a new entitlement in a country already drowning in $16 trillion of debt.

The second matter is whether it is even constitutional.  The Supreme Court will start hearing challenges to the law beginning March 26.  According to Krauthammer, “The American people, by an astonishing two-thirds majority, want the law and/or the individual mandate tossed out by the Court.”  In addition to challenges to the constitutionality of the mandate, there are challenges as to whether the mandate is severable from the law itself.  If the court rules that the mandate is unconstitutional, and inseparable from the law itself, the whole thing could get thrown out.

Finally, there is the contraceptive mandate from the Health and Human Service Department.  The Obama Administration and much of the left is trying to paint this as a matter of a woman’s right to contraceptives.  Numerous religious groups are pointing out that the real issue at stake here is whether the federal government has the right to define what is a religious mission.  In this matter, the Catholic Church is joined spectrum of other religious groups.  Even  non-religious groups are arguing that the mandate represents an unconstitutional overreach into how the private institutions of civil society deal with social service concerns.  There is a nationwide series of rallies, called “Stand Up For Religious Freedom”, being held today in 140 locations to protest this overreach on the part of the federal government.