The letter bringing the news the president told me would never come arrived in Thursday's mail.
It said, in part, "Among other things, these (Affordable Care Act) requirements will cause your benefits to change to include federally-mandated Essential Health Benefits. Since your current benefit plan does not conform to these new mandates, your current health plan will cease upon your anniversary date."
There it was, in black and white, notification that I would not be able to keep my current health care plan – whether I liked it or not.
Remember the presidential talking point? If you like your current health plan, Barack Obama and his allies repeated over and over again, you would get to keep it. There would be no change. Things would go on as before even if Obamacare became the law of the land.
The letter that came Thursday put the truth to the president's lie. I would not be allowed to keep my current plan because it did not conform to the dictates of the new law and it was going away. And there was nothing I could do about it save enroll in a new plan because, as the letter also said, "you will be required to select a new ACA-compliant plan in order to continue your coverage."
There are no two ways about it: Barack Obama stood up in front of the Congress of the United States and lied the nation into a new health care insurance system. Given that, it is now clear what the origins of the current contretemps between the executive and the legislative branches clearly are.
By insisting the Congress give him a continuing resolution to sign that includes funding for Obamacare, and by willing to engage in a phony shutdown of the federal government to make his point, President Obama is trying to undo nearly 10 centuries of the democratic process – going all the way back to the Magna Carta – to regain the power of the purse for the executive. Though the current crisis may, to some, seem silly or petty, it has as its basis a critically important point. The U.S. House of Representatives is the representative of the people of the United States, the same people in whom the U.S. Constitution invests national sovereignty. And they have determined that Obamacare should not be funded.
The president may, through the process of negotiation, convince the House the change its mind. He has allowed the government to shut down for that very reason, as a negotiating point. His intransigence, however, threatens to undermine the democratic process.
It is true that the "shutdown strategy" has its origins with a just a couple of United States Senators and just enough of the Republican conference in the House to have forced it on everyone else. From a political standpoint, it may not have been the best move. Nevertheless, the president's reaction to it, aided and abetted by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, reveals a shameless inconsistency in his attitude toward the American system. He will wield it as a sword in defense of those causes he advocates, but will attack it with a vengeance when he disagrees with the result, as he is doing now and as he did when the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in the Citizens United case.
That the ends justify the means may be a winning argument in the Saul Alinksy playbook, but it should not be the case in a democratic system where the power of the majority is tempered by consideration of the rights of the minority and the rule of law. Barack Obama, who fashions himself a constitutional scholar, is perhaps the most powerful advocate for the idea of the rule of men over the rule of law to ever occupy the White House. This, of course, explains why it has been so easy for his administration to hand out waivers and exemptions and special carve outs to political special interests who might be harmed by his objectives, but who are important to his political base – even though those same carve outs run counter to the constitutional imperative embraced by the 14th Amendment that all laws should be applied equally.
There is more at stake here than whether the president wins or the Republicans lose a single political battle. Obama is challenging the whole system, which in fairness he promised to do while a candidate for president in 2008. Shame on us for not listening and not believing that he meant what he said.
- Read Susan Milligan: Starbucks’ CEO Is Not Going to Solve the Government Shutdown
- Read Robert Schlesinger: Obama Adviser: Why the Debt Ceiling Deniers Have It All Wrong
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