The president and his Democratic colleagues in Congress drove down the field in dramatic style
and passed Obamacare without a single Republican vote. But now as we approach the goal line for full
implementation of their health-care law, team Obama is fumbling.
Over the last two years, an alarming pattern of delays, glitches and overturned provisions in the
health-care law has even the president acknowledging it isn’t working.
First, Congress repealed the law’s 1099 mandate after realizing this provision would drastically
increase expenses on every business, charity and local government entity. Then Congress repealed the
law’s long-term care program in 2012 after the administration admitted it wouldn’t work.
Next came a slew of waivers. Rather than admit Obamacare would drive up costs, the administration
created a program that has granted more than 1,700 waivers covering more than 4.1 million people.
Even meeting its own deadlines for implementation seems to be too difficult for the White House.
According to the Congressional Research Service, as of May 31, 2013, the administration had yet to meet
half – 41 out of 82 – of the deadlines legally required by Obamacare.
But in June 2013, President Obama claimed, “I think it’s important for us to recognize
and acknowledge this is working the way it’s supposed to.”
Just one month later, the president’s team announced the delay of another key Obamacare component
– the employer mandate – until 2015, while maintaining implementation of the individual mandate
The president has given businesses relief from the law, but don’t all Americans deserve the
This unpopular health-care law is a disaster. We need to repeal Obamacare and replace it step-by-step
with reforms that lower costs, increase access to care and empower patients, not bureaucrats.
I have voted more than two dozen times to repeal, defund and strip provisions from Obamacare. It
is a principle I share with all Republicans, and I will continue to support these efforts. I want the
result to be victory, which is why I have concerns with a push by some to shut down the government.
Here’s the hard truth: President Obama will not overturn his signature legislation so long
as he is president and the Democrats have control of the Senate.
Along with these political realities, refusing to pass legislation to keep the government funded
will not stop Obamacare from going into effect. The majority of the law is considered “mandatory
spending” and operates outside of the annual appropriations process. As a result, Obamacare would
still be implemented under a government shutdown, and the taxes established to fund the law would still
Also, I am concerned about the impact a government shutdown would have on Indiana and our nation’s
Active duty military would remain on the job, but would not be paid. Thousands of federal employees
in Indiana would be furloughed, including the 3,000 civilian contractors at the Naval Surface Warfare
Center Crane who provide critical support services to our troops.
There are over 1.2 million Hoosiers receiving Social Security benefits. While these benefits would
continue under a shutdown, many services like new benefit registration and beneficiary assistance would
face delays. For Hoosiers who rely on these checks, this could be the difference in making a mortgage
or paying bills on time.
Additionally, patients waiting for approvals on new drugs from companies like Eli Lilly in Indianapolis
or medical devices from Zimmer in Warsaw could also be impacted since federal employees reviewing these
functions would not be reporting to work.
I believe a full delay of the law is a better strategy. I am preparing legislation, similar to a
House-passed bill offered by Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., which would delay Obamacare until 2015.
Delaying implementation until after the 2014 midterm elections would return the decision to the American
voters. Some argue that the 2012 election was a referendum, but the full scale of the law’s problems
was not yet known. We now know Obamacare is driving up premiums, forcing businesses to cut workers’
jobs or hours and requiring some families to switch plans.
As individuals, families and businesses are learning more about these disastrous impacts, they deserve
to the chance to decide whether they want the Senate to continue under Harry Reid and the Democrats that
passed Obamacare or if they want to elect leaders that will fully repeal it and replace it with more
effective, consumer-driven solutions.
On the gridiron, it is usually the better call to kick a field goal and send a game into overtime
than to try a last-second “Hail Mary” pass in hopes of a win. The contest over Obamacare
can be won in overtime. Let’s allow the American people to decide the final score.