Obamacare Repeal: Broken Promises By a President, a Party, & Its Politicians

Obamacare Repeal: Broken Promises By a President, a Party, & Its Politicians

It was March 23, 2010.  One of the most contentious political battles in recent American history was over. President Obama had just signed into law his signature legislation: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. House Republicans immediately introduced legislation to repeal Obamacare, and over the next six years, Republicans would introduce more than 60 different bills to repeal all or parts of Obamacare.  

In 2015, the House and Senate, both under Republican control, passed HR 3762, a bill that repealed the most significant parts of Obamacare. (President Obama would veto the Repeal bill.)   It’s noteworthy to highlight that support for the 2015 Repeal of Obamacare was near unanimous by Republicans with only 7 House Republicans and 2 Senate Republicans voting Nay, or against it. (239 Republican Representatives and 52 Republican Senators voted Aye, in favor.)  As a side note, my Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and both of my Senators, Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, all voted for the Repeal Bill.

During the three election cycles (2012, 2014, 2016) following the passage of Obamacare, Republican House and Senate candidates, challengers and incumbents alike, would nearly unanimously, and repeatedly, promise that if voters would elect, or reelect, them, they would Repeal Obamacare.  And based on those promises, Republican, moderate, conservative, tea party, and independent voters entrusted their vote to these elected officials.

Then the 2016 Presidential cycle happened.  While the Republican Primary was one of the most crowded field of candidates in memory, with each of them offering their own ideas and promises, there was one issue on which all the candidates agreed: Their unanimous commitment to the Repeal of Obamacare.  

Following the Primary, and with the nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for Presidency, the GOP’s nominee promised to Repeal Obamacare.  And the 2016 GOP Platform further reiterated the Party’s commitment to a full Repeal of Obamacare.  Note this quote from the Republican Platform (page 36):

“Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare. It weighs like the dead hand of the past upon American medicine. It imposed a Euro-style bureaucracy to manage its unworkable, budget-busting, conflicting provisions. It has driven up prices for all consumers. Their insurance premiums have dramatically increased while their deductibles have risen about eight times faster than wages in the last ten years… We agree with the four dissenting judges of the Supreme Court: ‘In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.’

To that end, a Republican president, on the first day in office, will use legitimate waiver authority under the law to halt its advance and then, with the unanimous support of Congressional Republicans, will sign its repeal.”

Let that last sentence sink in.

Is there any question that the full Repeal of Obamacare was promised, ad infinitum, by the Party and all of its candidates?  

But if there’s one thing that seems to be synonymous with politicians, it is broken promises.  There is nigh a profession that has a lower credibility rating than that of a politician.  I have met many politicians including local, state and federal ones. And one thing I’ve noticed about most of them is that they are fond to commit to the voter in order to gain their vote.  But once they are elected, there is something that flips in the politician’s mind; something that quickly turns the page on those campaign promises, as they jet off to Washington or their state capitol.  Whether it’s a character flaw in the type of individuals that are attracted to the profession of governing, or whether it’s that as they leave voters behind, they can also leave promises behind, it’s a rare instance when politicians are willing to fulfill the promises they make.  

Sadly that’s what American voters once again witnessed this last week.  When the Republican health care plan known as RyanCare, TrumpCare, or the American Health Care Act, was put forward, a promise was broken.  And it wasn’t just one promise. The Repeal of Obamacare was promised by:

    President Donald Trump,

        each Republican Senator,

            each Republican Representative,

                Republican Speaker Paul Ryan, and

                    the Republican Party in its 2016 Platform.

And as already noted, nearly every Republican Representative and Senator voted in favor of the 2015 Repeal of Obamacare as well.

I once heard someone ask the question, 

“How do you know when a politician is lying? Answer: When their lips are moving.”  

Of course, this is a very cynical, over-generalization of an entire profession.  But when the overriding theme of a political party and their nearly 300 elected officials is the Repeal Obamacare, for six long years, and when they are ultimately entrusted with the power and authority to do so, what should voters conclude when such a material promise is broken?

What is also commonplace amongst politicians is to deflect blame when they’re under pressure, rather than simply owning up when they break their promise. Once again, this week we saw the blame game, from Trump to Ryan, and from House Representatives to the Republican Party. That blame was heaped on 40 or so Representatives who, unlike Ryan, Trump and an entire party, resolved to keep the promise they made.  This group, known as the Freedom Caucus, had a simple message: “Let’s keep our promise. Let’s Repeal Obamacare. Let’s simply vote as we did in 2015.”  

But they became the villains. The scapegoats. And many voters are falling for Trump and the Republican Party’s blame game, forgetting that those doing the blaming are the ones breaking the promise.  

The 2015 Repeal bill, supported by nearly every Republican member, was actually introduced by Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan last month.  But Ryan and Trump and a couple hundred other elected officials, effectively affirmed Obamacare and all of its destructive regulations, by refusing to honor their promise.  Had they simply taken up the Repeal Bill that was passed by each of these Congressional members in 2015, Obamacare would be history, with a two year phase out period.  This time frame would have been ample time to pass common sense healthcare reform.  

Beyond keeping a promise, the reality is that only a full repeal of Obamacare will insure that the virus that has infected our government will be extricated from our healthcare system.  Anything less will simply insure that the destructive nature of Obamacare will be allowed to remain.

So what’s next? My guess is that politicians will be politicians, and do what they do best: Promise the world but deliver a sack of IOU’s. And their credibility will sink even lower than Trump’s favorability ratings. But my hope is that for once, these men and women will honor their promise, and just do the right thing. 

Our nation’s future, and your healthcare, hang in the balance.  

Let your Yea be Yea and your Nay be Nay…”  (Matthew 5:37)

Election 2016: The Most Critical one of Your Lifetime?

Election 2016: The Most Critical one of Your Lifetime?

Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Carson, Bush, Kasich? What’s a conservative to do? Who is the right pick? How can one determine which politician to trust?

As I’ve thought about, studied and researched each of these candidates, I’ve certainly seen strengths and weaknesses in all of them. But at the end of the day, you and I can only pick one for our preferred nominee (assuming you’ve already ruled out the two socialists in the other party). So what is the best way to winnow out the candidates who are either not who they say they are or are ill-equipped to lead our nation back to our founding principles?

Over time, what a person does will accurately reveal who they are and what they value. As the saying goes, “you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” So if one is willing to be objective and truly evaluate a person’s track record, one can very safely predict the future actions of that person. At the end of the day, when we are faced with difficult decisions or stressful scenarios, we will all default to the core of who we are. And so it is with all six of the remaining Republican candidates for President.

If we understand this truth and are willing to objectively apply it, we can rationally mark off those candidates whose track records will not live up to scrutiny. Of course, it will also require us to set aside our own biases, preferences and even the temptation to believe what they claim. But what do we value most, simply being told what we want to hear, or searching for truth and acting out of reason versus emotion? Consider this. When you go to a doctor, would you trust one who is charismatic, handsome, and/or winsome, but he does not tell you the truth of your illness, choosing rather tell you what you want to hear?

So as I evaluated the remaining candidates, I have done what I’m suggesting you do as well. I evaluated each of these candidates, and slowly, deliberately and comprehensively, I concluded that Senator Ted Cruz is the candidate whose track record is the most consistent and verifiable over the course of the last 30 years. While not perfect, Cruz is not simply a “campaign conservative” but rather he is the consistent conservative.

I write this article for two reasons. First, I’m seeking to provide those who are still struggling to select their candidate with some of my reasons for selecting Ted Cruz. And secondly, to encourage others who might be supporting a different candidate to at least reconsider their choice.

The Constitution

If there is one document that separates us from every other nation in the world, it is our Constitution. Our nation’s founding document contains not only the principles that created the most exceptional nation in world history, but it established a form of government that has enabled We the People to govern ourselves through men and women who were to remain accountable to the People. Because of the greatness of this document and the role it is meant to play in constraining the passions and mischief of men, the reverence and allegiance any politician reflects to this document should be of paramount importance to all Americans.

This perhaps is one of the greatest strengths of Ted Cruz. During his years as a teenager, Ted Cruz memorized the Constitution, and its values have guided his political views and ideologies throughout his entire adult life. His years in front of the US Supreme Court as Texas Solicitor General led to many victories for the Constitution on matters that are foremost to conservatives including the 2nd Amendment, US sovereignty, and religious liberty.

Life & Marriage

In an era when the biblical values of life and marriage have been under extreme attack, Ted Cruz has been a stalwart voice to support life and defend marriage. As the murderous policies of Planned Parenthood have been exposed, Cruz has continued to call for the defunding of this organization that profits from the taking of innocent life.

Religious Liberty

As Christians in particular come under greater attack in our nation, Ted Cruz has been a steady and consistent supporter of religious liberty. Cruz successfully defended the public display of the Ten Commandments and the words “under God” in our nation’s pledge before the SCOTUS, kept the cross standing at the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, defended Hobby Lobby against Obamacare’s contraception mandate, and so much more.

Repeal ObamaCare

Senator Ted Cruz stood alone in September 2013 in his 21-hour marathon anti-Obamacare “filibuster.” While several other Senators chimed in, Cruz’ has remained the foremost voice in repealing Obamacare seeking to replace it with “common sense health care reform that makes health insurance personal and affordable and keeps the government from getting between Americans and their doctors.”

Illegal Immigration

In 2013, Ted Cruz led the fight in Congress to defeat the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, which would have extended amnesty to over ten million illegals. Democrat Chuck Schumer (D) and Republican Presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio were the key sponsors and spokesmen for the Gang of Eight bill. One of the bill’s most outspoken critics, Senator Jeff Sessions credited Cruz with the ultimate defeat of the bill saying, “I believe without the vigorous opposition from Ted Cruz, this bill very likely would have passed.” The Cruz plan to stop illegal immigration includes securing the border, restoring the rule of law, and reforming immigration to protect Americans.

Abolish the IRS / Replace with Flat Tax

The Cruz simple flat tax plan would establish one flat 10% tax rate for individuals with a postcard being used to file one’s taxes. A family of four would pay no taxes on their first $36,000 of income. Additionally, the business flat tax would abolish the corporate income tax and payroll tax, and replace them with a 16% tax. The death tax, Obamacare taxes and more would also be eliminated. The IRS as we know it would be abolished.

Flat Tax Postcard

Defeat ISIS & Secure our Nation

Believing that America is an exceptional and unique nation, Ted Cruz has proposed a six-point plan that would position the US as a shining beacon, to exert world leadership, rebuild our military, defeat ISIS, protect the homeland, and rip up the Iran deal. American Spectator recently stated, “Cruz presents a well-thought out, foreign and national defense policy based on the original, Reagan conservatism. One that focuses on advancing America’s security interests around the world, not on sacrificing American lives and treasure on replacing foreign dictators… birthing new democracies, or building jobs and prosperity in foreign lands.”

Appointment of Supreme Court Justices

Justice Scalia’s death over the weekend has highlighted the strong likelihood that up to four Supreme Court Justices could be replaced by the next President. Given the razor-thin 5-4 decisions that have been rendered on issues as foundational to our nation as religious liberty, abortion, 2nd Amendment and more, the judicial philosophy of the next President’s is critical. Ted Cruz has praised Scalia for his efforts in “returning the focus to the original meaning of the text (of the Constitution) after decades of judicial activism.”

Stand Against the Washington Establishment

Ted Cruz, while only one of 100 Senators, has consistently stood firm for the values he campaigned on, and this has frequently exposed the political schemes and corruption by congressional leaders in both parties. While the Washington establishment has rejected Cruz for his principled stands, this firmness of conviction will bode him well were he to lead from the Oval Office in 2017 as he continues to stand with the People vs. the Establishment. His Five for Freedom plan would eliminate the IRS, and the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development.

Man of Faith

Too many politicians speak of faith, but their walk and particularly their policies are at odds with the faith they claim. Ted Cruz not only professes a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but his walk aligns with one who is truly a Christ follower. The policies he pursues are ones that both affirm the values of our Constitution while respecting the values of his faith. Hundreds of faith leaders have examined Cruz and have endorsed him for President.  At the same time, though Cruz has been quick to acknowledge he is not running as “Pastor in Chief.”

In closing, America is at a seminal moment. We are at a crossroads. The choice we make in 2016 will determine whether we will travel to a point of no return, leaving forever the Judeo/Christian principles of our founders. Will we embrace a candidate who quickens our base emotions or uses eloquent phrases, or will we examine the candidates’ track records to validate whether their talk matches their walk? We may not have another chance. This could be our last opportunity to restore the Constitution, the rule of law, and to call on God’s mercy and grace as we seek to restore our Constitution and the Creator to the rightful place in our nation. I pray you will join me in prayerfully supporting Ted Cruz for President.

Mark

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey. Used by permission.