On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed one of the most divisive and irresponsible bills ever passed by Congress into law. The Affordable Care Act never enjoyed majority support among Americans, and two years after its passage, a majority wants it repealed. The Supreme Court may rule its individual mandate unconstitutional this year.
The ACA aka ObamaCare has come to represent everything that is wrong with Washington. While the economy deteriorated, Obama and the Democrats focused on passing that bill to satisfy generations of liberal longing for more government power, rather than focusing on getting government out of the way so the private sector could create jobs and more Americans could prosper. The Obama administration came to office promising openness and transparency, but Democrats crafted the ACA in backroom deals and gathered votes to pass it via political payoffs. The “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase” became part of the ACA’s unfortunate legacy. The administration that promised to work across the aisle with Republicans built such a partisan monstrosity that it only managed to garner a single GOP vote at one stage in the US House (none in the Senate), yet had the audacity to call the bill “bipartisan.” The administration that promised to post bills online at least 72 hours prior to votes, rammed the 2,000 page ACA bill through before anyone in Congress had even had the chance to read it. Then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even said that we had to pass the bill just to find out what’s in it. That statement and her role in passing the bill would result in her passing the gavel to her successor, Speaker of the House John Boehner.
The ACA cost the Democrats their four-year-old House majority and almost cost them the Senate, in the 2010 mid-term elections. It cost them dozens of seats in state legislatures, flipped control of several legislatures over to the GOP, it cost Democrats several governorships, and hundreds of offices at the state and local level. It cost them Senate seats in Massachusetts and Illinois, the former the longtime seat of liberal Ted Kennedy, the latter, the president’s own former seat. It energized the Tea Party to rise up and fight back against government overreach. It united the GOP in opposition. It has kept businesses all across America from hiring, out of legitimate fear that their per employee liabilities will skyrocket under the ACA. It will be an issue in the fall general election, as all of the GOP presidential contenders have promised to repeal it if they are elected to replace Obama. The ACA has become, as Vice President Joe Biden so eloquently noted the day the president signed it into law, a big…..deal. Just not in the way that either he or Obama expected.