Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Obamacare presents golden opportunity for Republicans

The Gazette editorial Updated: September 24, 2013 at 9:11 am

Despite impassioned efforts by House Republicans, Sen. Ted Cruz and others who want to spare Americans the looming pain of Obamacare, Democrats control Washington. The plan to economically starve the horrific health care law is destined to fail.

Here's the good news for Republicans. As full Obamacare implimentation begins next month, their prospects to regain control of federal government should only improve by the day.

Obamacare is so ill-conceived and poorly written that Americans may quickly resent all who voted for it. The electorate may finally listen to Republicans on a meaninful scale for the first time since 2010, when the tea party put conservatives in control of the House.

A Sunday Gazette story reminded us of just one unintended consequence of Obamacare that's already in effect. The law is a jobs killer our delicate economy cannot afford.

The story, by Gazette business writer Wayne Heilman, told of impediments to a brisk economic recovery in Colorado Springs. Though job growth is slowly accelerating in the Springs, the story explained, wages are stagnant "because employers are replacing full-time jobs with part-time ones to get around requirements of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act."

That's a story told throughout the country, not just in the Springs. Employers are reducing full-time employment to avoid Obamacare.

Once the mandate kicks in, requiring all Americans to buy health insurance, healthy young people may do just as employers are doing. They may avoid the mandate in droves. They may opt to pay a small fine rather than buy expensive health care policies on Obamacare exchanges. In doing so, they would undermine any hope of the health care law's economic viability.

Trying to help the uninsured with a law that says "buy insurance" makes little more sense than helping the homeless with a law that says "buy a house." The mandate, an exercise in force, does nothing to address the complex issues that have left nearly 50 million Americans uninsured in the first place.

Obamacare's detrimental effect on full-time jobs will only make it more difficult than ever for individuals to buy insurance. The fine for avoiding the mandate is a fraction of the cost of a health insurance policy. Even the highest fines possible under Obamacare are only about half the cost of a low-end health insurance policy that meets minimal Obamacare standards.

"Obamacare is a house of cards just waiting to fall of its own weight," wrote Linda Chavez, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity and a former presidential nominee for secretary of labor. "As unhappy as Americans are now at the prospect of Obamacare, just wait until they have to live under it. Even Democrats will be pushing to rewrite the law once their constituents feel its full effects. Patience will pay off for the GOP."

Efforts to stop implementation of this law are rooted in good intentions. Politicians understandably do not want to see their constituents endure this looming public policy nightmare.

It is sadly too late to keep the law from taking effect. As a result, more Americans will lose their full-time jobs. Insurance may become less useful and even harder to afford. In the likely event Obamacare makes a flawed system considerably worse, Republicans will have a crisis to solve. It will be a nationwide problem invented and carried out by their opponents. Political opportunity doesn't get much better than that.

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