Support for Obamacare drops

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Rep. Phil Roe
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      Rep. Phil Roe

      Congressman Phil Roe represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee, which includes Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, Washington, Jefferson and Sevier Counties. A resident of Johnson City serving his second term in Congress, Roe is the Chair of the Health, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee.

      A native of Tennessee, Phil was born on July 21, 1945 in Clarksville. He earned a degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Austin Peay State University in 1967 and went on and to earn his Medical Degree from the University of Tennessee in 1970. Upon graduation, he served two years in the United States Army Medical Corps.

This week, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia declared that a central provision of the law in Obamacare requiring that individuals obtain health insurance by 2014 is unconstitutional. The judge determined that the health care law went too far and Congress must push forward to repeal Obamacare and replace it with common-sense — and constitutional — legislation that aims at lowering health care costs.

While this ruling is a rejection of Obamacare, the president and his supporters are focused on appealing the decision, so the case is far from over. Still, this is further evidence the health care legislation was rushed through Congress and is very flawed.

Through the individual mandate, the federal government is literally forcing all Americans to buy health insurance. Even worse, this legislation gives the federal government the right to decide what is “acceptable” coverage for individuals. Those who do not meet these standards will be taxed or penalized.

Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if government can force individuals to buy a private product or be penalized for not doing so. A Wall Street Journal editorial that addresses this ruling points out that: “If government can punish citizens for in essence doing nothing, then what is left of the core constitutional principle of limited and enumerated government powers?”

For those who are already covered, the health care law allows Americans to keep their health care coverage — so long as their health care plan doesn’t make any significant changes. But the reality is, health care plans constantly change out of necessity, and now when they change, Americans will be at risk of losing their existing health care plan — like it or not. The promise that Americans could keep their existing insurance is temporary, at best.

A Washington Post/ABC poll this week shows the American people reject Obamacare, with approval ratings hitting a new record low. Fifty-three percent of the respondents said they were opposed to the health care legislation.

In a Rasmussen poll, sixty percent of the respondents want the health care bill repealed.  The report goes on to explain: “Most voters have favored repeal of the law every week since it was passed and support for repeal has now inched up to its highest level since mid-September.” The bottom line is, the more people hear about the details, the less they like this bill.

While legal fights are just beginning against this health care law in states around the country, I am committed to working with Congress to repeal the law and address critical health care challenges that face our nation. I urge the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress to work with Republicans in passing common-sense health care reforms that are constitutionally permissible.

Rep. Phil Roe represents Tennessee’s First Congressional District.