As political poisons go, few are more toxic with the American voter than the government takeover of health care. On Election Day 2010, voters sent an undeniable message for new leadership in Congress to repeal the job-destroying health care law and focus on the people’s priorities of creating jobs and cutting spending.
And for good reason. Without question, the American people are already suffering the consequences of Democrats’ health care scheme through higher costs, fewer choices, and lost jobs. Since Obamacare became law, health care premiums have escalated toward the projected $2,100 average increase per family. Tens of thousands have already been displaced from their current health coverage and physicians are closing their practices. Seniors face $500 billion in Medicare cuts while families and small businesses will pay over $770 billion in more taxes to fund new federal bureaucracies. And higher costs and burdensome regulations are stifling the ability of job creators — small businesses — to keep employees or hire more workers. And that’s only the beginning.
House Republicans ran on a pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, and this week House Republicans are turning campaign promises into action by delivering an important first vote towards repealing the health care law. I’m proud to say that Republicans — including 87 freshman Republicans — voted unanimously to repeal and replace Obamacare. The new Republican majority is putting on record our commitment to ending the job-destroying health care scheme and building solutions for access to quality, affordable care for all Americans. As Politico noted this week:
[The vote] to repeal the health care reform bill will make headlines and count as a promise kept by House Republicans. The real work begins immediately afterward, with Republicans using every legislative and political tool at their disposal to wage a two-year campaign against the overhaul. (Carrie Budoff Brown, “Repeal Vote is just Republicans’ First Step on Health Care,” Politico, 01/17/11)
For our friends on the other side of the aisle, the repeal vote turned out to be a test of political schooling. Even after suffering a 63-seat loss in November, Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat followers doubled down on defending their failed policies. Apparently, Democrats have still failed to learn lessons from the American people’s Election Day repudiation of their job-destroying agenda.
Perhaps some House Democrats thought their constituents wouldn’t notice their bait-and-switch on the government takeover of health care. Of the 13 surviving Democrats who voted against the health care bill last year, 10 more are now on record of supporting government-run health care by voting against its repeal.
While Democrats suffered defeat in all regions of the country for empowering Nancy Pelosi’s big-government agenda, nearly three quarters — or 37 of the 52 — Democrat incumbent seats lost were Democrats who voted for the government takeover of health care. If political self-preservation is a driving force for votes, since constituent opinion apparently is not, then the New Obamacare Democrats may do well to consult with their former colleagues to survey the poisonous political implications of their votes.
With Washington still under Democrat control, House Democrats unfortunately will have plenty of help in defying the American people’s call to repeal Obamacare and create jobs. But Washington Democrats underestimated the will of the American people by cramming the health care scheme through Congress last year, and they will make the same perilous mistake by obstructing its repeal. Voters have put Washington on notice. Now it’s time to be accountable to the American people by advancing their priorities. As Election Day showed, American voters do not easily forget.
Congressman Pete Sessions represents the 32nd Congressional District of Texas and is Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.