Will Backlash to Obamacare Ever End?

After the House passed the massive comprehensive healthcare package on March 21, conservative members of Congress and activist groups commented extensively on the controversial legislation  Here are some of their comments:

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.): “Today’s vote will go down in history as the culmination of a year-long quest by a partisan majority to force its will on the public over bipartisan opposition.  And it marks the beginning of a backlash against Democrats in Washington who lost their way and lost the trust of the people who elected them.  Americans rejected the process and the special deals that brought us to this point, and they are demanding an explanation.  A bill that had a simple goal—to lower the cost of health care—became instead a monstrosity held together by special deals, a rejection of the clear will of the voters, and presidential appeals to put party first.  That’s not reform.  Americans had already rejected this bill before today’s vote, along with the unseemly power grab that led to its passage.  They are tired of being treated more like obstacles to be overcome than constituents to be respected and heard.  But they will be heard.  Senate Republicans will now do everything in our power to replace the massive tax hikes, Medicare cuts and mandates with the reforms our constituents have been calling for throughout this debate.”

Chairman of the Republican Study Committee Rep. Tom Price (Ga.): “Healthcare—taking care of people—is a moral endeavor and should be grounded in principle.  And if the principles that we hold dear for healthcare are applied to this debate and to this bill, the picture is not pretty.  Accessibility, being able to receive care.  Affordability, being able to afford care.  Quality, receiving the best care available.  Responsiveness, having a system that works for patients.  And innovation, being certain that we have the newest and the best treatments.  And choices, patients being able to choose their physicians and how and where they’re treated.  All of these are harmed by this bill.  All of these principles are violated.  None of these principles are improved by the further intervention of the federal government.  Mostly this is bad for patients, for all Americans.  So this is a sad day, yes, because there are so many wonderful and positive and patient-centered solutions that could be enacted.  You see, we trust patients and families.  They trust government.  As a physician, I know when patients and their families and their doctors are not allowed to decide what care they receive, we lose more than our healthcare system.  We lose our morality.  We lose our freedom.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.):  “This past year, the President and Democratic leaders in Congress gathered in back rooms away from the American people and twisted arms to get just enough votes through deals and handouts to pass their legislation.  They broke promises of open debate and transparency, and instead of working with Republicans and implementing common-sense reforms that wouldn’t break the bank, they went it alone and spent more money we just don’t have.  Future generations will pay the price for our government’s arrogance and recklessness, and the American people won’t ever forget the irresponsible actions of this Administration and Congress.  After all, government answers to the people, not the other way around, and the fight for the soul of this nation continues on.”

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (Va.):  “All of us in this body—Republicans and Democrats alike—care about Americans’ health care.  Many of us, from both sides of the aisle, don’t care for this trillion-dollar overhaul.  And the fact is the majority of Americans don’t care for it either.  Sadly, Mr. Speaker the only bipartisanship we’ve seen surrounding this overhaul is in opposition to it.  There’s a reason for that.  Healthcare is a very personal issue.  This overhaul will impact every man, woman, and child in this country. It will even affect future generations that have not yet been born.  Mr. Speaker, this overhaul will have a huge impact on our parents, our spouses, and our kids.  This is something that they’ll be paying for the rest of their lives.  For too long, the majority in this body and the President of the United States have refused to listen to the American people.” 

Sen. Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.):  “This bill is unconstitutional and it cannot be fixed. It must be repealed.  The battle for healthcare freedom is not over and I will introduce legislation this week to repeal this health takeover.  Unless this trillion-dollar assault on our freedoms is repealed, it will force Americans to purchase Washington-approved health plans or face stiff penalties.  It will fund abortions, raise taxes and insurance premiums, while reducing healthcare choices and quality.  This arrogant power grab proves that the President and his party care more about government control than the will of the American people.  Americans told Washington to keep its hands off their healthcare, in opinion polls, at public protests and at the ballot box, but their pleas were ignored.  If the President and Democrats were serious about true healthcare reform, there were many free-market solutions we could have easily passed.  Americans support commonsense reforms such as purchasing coverage across state lines, stopping frivolous medical lawsuits, and giving the same tax breaks to Americans who don’t get their insurance at work.  Unfortunately, Democrats refused to listen.  The bill passed in the House today raids $52 billion from Social Security, cuts nearly $500 billion from Medicare, and doesn’t account for the hundreds of billions Congress must pass to pay doctors who treat elderly patients.” 

Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life Action: “Congress ignored the explicit wishes of the American people by voting to establish taxpayer-funded abortion.  This reversal of long-standing federal policy will not stand.  Furthermore, the assurance by the White House to address the problem of abortion funding in the healthcare bill through use of an executive order is an open acknowledgment that the bill just passed is pro-abortion legislation.  The AUL legal team has concluded that an executive order is not an adequate fix to mitigate this legislation’s establishment of taxpayer-funded abortion.  An executive order, for example, cannot prevent insurance companies that pay for abortions in the exchanges from receiving federal subsidies.  We will work to dismantle taxpayer-funded abortion at the federal level and begin an aggressive, state-by-state campaign to help states opt out of subsidizing plans that cover abortions through their exchanges.  We will also seek every opportunity to litigate this matter in the courts.  Given that seven out of ten voters agree that no public funds should pay for abortion, I am confident that with hard work we will succeed.” 

Richard Doerflinger, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:  “We’ve consulted with legal experts on the specific idea of resolving the abortion-funding problems in the Senate bill through executive order.  We know members have been looking into this in good faith, in the hope of limiting the damage done by abortion provisions in the bill.  We believe, however, that it would not be fair to withhold what our conclusion was, as it may help members in assessing the options before them:  One proposal to address the serious problem in the Senate healthcare bill on abortion funding, specifically the direct appropriating of new funds that bypass the Hyde amendment, is to have the President issue an executive order against using these funds for abortion.  Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation.  According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding.  That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year.  The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation.  This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence.  Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.” 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue:  “The House made a wrong and unfortunate decision that ignores the will of the American people.  Americans will not be fooled.  his $900 billion, 2,800 page bill is not healthcare reform.  It fails to fix what is broken and risks breaking what already works.  It will drive up healthcare costs and make coverage less affordable for businesses and families.  It marks a major step down the road to a government-run health care system.  It will further expand entitlements and explode the deficit, and raises taxes by a half-trillion dollars at the worst possible time.  American jobs and growth are at risk thanks to the decision by the House today.  Should the legislation passed by the House today become law, the Chamber will work through all available avenues—regulatory, legislative, legal, and political—to fix its flaws and minimize its potentially harmful impacts.  Through the largest issue-advocacy and voter-education program in our history, we will encourage citizens to hold their elected officials accountable when they choose a new Congress this November.” 

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R.-Tex):  “Speaker Pelosi and the majority, after weeks of arm twisting and backroom deals, forced through a vote on a sweeping government takeover of healthcare on the House floor last night that threatens to bankrupt the country.  Again, they have blatantly ignored the voices of struggling Americans that truly desire reform with quality, affordable access to healthcare.  Instead, they have made an unprecedented power grab that forces millions of individuals off their private insurance, while forcing millions more into unemployment.  This bill institutionalizes the ‘Washington knows best’ mentality in our economy and tells Americans that they and their doctors cannot be trusted to make their own healthcare decisions.  The bill also provides funding for abortion, slashes 500 billion in Medicare funding that will significantly hurt our seniors, wrongfully penalizes employers and small businesses with hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases, and adds nearly 17,000 new IRS agents to monitor and harass Americans on a monthly basis.  Once the government controls, rations, and pays for healthcare, it will then have the right to monitor the lives and businesses of all Americans.”