Opinion

One last stand against Obamacare

Niger Innis National Spokesman, Congress of Racial Equality

When Senator Ted Cruz took to the well of the United States Senate yesterday to begin his filibuster, he didn’t rise just for the sake of garnering headlines, he rose to stand athwart the onrush of Obamacare. Most of Cruz’s Senate colleagues headed for the hills, talking in hushed tones to any reporter who would listen about the “brazenness” and “incivility” of the junior Senator from Texas. They sneered. They sniped. They complained.

It was not too long ago that the party of Lincoln and Reagan was the party of limited government. Of course, that is still the official Republican Party line, but in practice, over the last decade, establishment Republicans have had a poor track record of standing firm and advocating for their principles. John McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts, and the establishment rewarded him with the nomination. Mitt Romney received the same reward after signing into law an individual mandate for health insurance.

Now, the establishment is at it again.  Republicans, save for principled conservatives, have forgotten their roots and their function in Congress. While many Senate Republicans fail to act for fear of failing, Senator Ted Cruz stood apart. Republicans now have a choice between conveniently folding to political pressure or standing firm and holding true to their promises to work towards destroying Obamacare not merely in theory, but in practice.

The Senate will soon be a battleground in the war against the Affordable Care Act, the disastrous healthcare overhaul that threatens to cripple our healthcare industry and our economy. The ballooning costs of Obamacare have already gotten out of control, and the law hasn’t even taken effect fully yet. Obamacare’s popularity has plummeted, even amongst many who clamored for it in 2010 but have since discovered the wild unsustainability and runaway costs associated a law more accurately titled the Un-Affordable Care Act.

While lawmakers bicker back and forth over the endless complications arising from the absurdly complicated law, Americans are forced to suffer the nightmare of complying with it. As Obamacare takes hold, it jeopardizes the health of communities across the country. In my hometown of Las Vegas, the proprietor of Practice Management Solutions, Cecilia Striber, works administrative magic to try and keep providers in compliance with the almost impossibly convoluted provisions.

“The problem is that [Obamacare] makes it impossible to provide care by increasing costs for providers,” Striber states. “There are so many more things [doctors] need to do now to comply with the law.” Striber also warns the new financial burdens associated with practicing medicine not only force healthcare costs to skyrocket, but can also hinder access to healthcare as private practices become less economically viable.

As a true testament to the law’s unpopularity, even the unions are looking for the exit as they prepare to abandon the law amidst the realization that they were lied to when they were sold on the legislation in 2010. The unions served as the last friends the Democrats had in the Obamacare fight. Now that they, too, have grown weary of the Obamacare train wreck, it seems that the fight is now between Democrats and everyone else.

Still, as unpopular as the law is, the showdown in the Senate is bound to be complicated as establishment Republicans are planning to sell Americans down the river to make peace with the Democrats. Only principled Tea Party and conservative leaders like Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee stand between the American people and the long-lasting effects of socialized healthcare.

For Americans, there is good and bad news as we near the Senate Obamacare fight. The bad news is that there is a scheme in place to allow establishment Republicans to posture as opponents of Obamacare, but actually cave to Democrats while saving face. The good news is that Americans are catching on, and principled Senate Republicans are working to make this maneuver impossible.

It’s tricky, but I’ll explain:

The House has passed a continuing resolution that funds the government, but has provided provisions that strip Obamacare of funding and allow the government to continue even if the debt ceiling is not raised. This resolution is heading to the Senate where Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will pick and choose what amendments are attached to the resolution. Once the Senate Republican Leadership moves to debate the resolution that kills Obamacare, Reid will block amendments that run contrary to the Democrats’ agenda, and Reid will allow an amendment to strip the Obamacare defunding requirement.

As soon as the amendment is offered that will keep Obamacare alive, Reid will call for cloture, which will stop debate. Reid will need six Republicans to vote for cloture, and since the Senate rules are complicated, this will be a perfect opportunity for weak-willed Republicans to pretend that they voted for cloture to get to the vote on the Obamacare-killing resolution. However, the amendment that restores funding to Obamacare will have already been offered, and the Democrats only need 51 votes to get their way and reinstate funding for Obamacare.

In short, any Republican who votes for cloture will be voting with Democrats to fund Obamacare. But, of course, any who do will immediately make their way to the cameras and with faux-disappointment and lament that in the end, they couldn’t stop the inevitable.

But it’s not inevitable.

Sens. Lee and Cruz are boisterously making the case that with a little backbone, Republicans really can stop Obamacare in the Senate. If Republicans can block cloture on everything, including the Democrats’ amendment to reinstate Obamacare funding, then Democrats will be at a standstill until Reid plays by the rules and is forced to deal with the continuing resolution that strips Obamacare’s funding.

Make no mistake: Actions speak louder than words, and those who do not work to dismantle Obamacare are tacitly supporting it.