Family Research Council

April 02, 2014 - Wednesday

Founding Fodder: Would the Framers Love ObamaCare?

From a PR standpoint, April Fools' Day was probably the worst possible moment to announce ObamaCare's enrollment numbers. But President Obama plowed ahead anyway, refusing to acknowledge the biggest joke was the White House's own data. In an event that felt more like a campaign rally than a press conference, the President claimed victory on his health care law, insisting in the Rose Garden that the legislation was just a late bloomer.

More than seven million Americans have "enrolled" in the exchanges by the March 31 deadline, claimed ObamaCare's namesake -- though no one, including the White House's own staff, seems to know what "enrolled" actually means. Faced with a barrage of questions, even Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted that he didn't have "breakdown data" at this point. But the facts certainly haven't gotten in the way of the administration's victory parade, which continued today despite fresh doubts that the law is actually helping the people who needed it.

For all the celebratory headlines and smiling photo ops, even the Washington Post isn't drinking the health care Kool-Aid. There, Marc Thiessen blew off the White House's optimism in a blunt column, "Making up Good News about ObamaCare." As far as he and many others are concerned, these "enrollment" numbers are meaningless until we know how many of these people have actually paid their premiums. Even then, he explains, the number that really matters "is not how many Americans signed up for ObamaCare but rather how many previously uninsured Americans signed up for ObamaCare" -- which was the whole point of the President's push.

"The goal was to cover the uninsured. That was the justification for all the chaos and disruption Americans have experienced -- and that is the standard by which the administration should be judged." By that measure, the law is not -- as the President claimed -- "doing what it's supposed to do." According to a McKinsey survey last month, only 14% of people who were uninsured before ObamaCare have actually paid for their plans. A more recent study by Rand estimates that only 858,000 newly insured Americans paid -- a number that conservatives believe to be slightly low. But even after Duke University's adjustments, that number is only marginally higher at 1.2 million.

Either way, it's obvious that a lot of people have signed up but haven't paid up. It's like filling an online shopping cart and never buying it. That's not a sale in the real world -- and it shouldn't be counted as one in ObamaCare's. Still, the President, hiding behind his numbers farce, insists, "The debate over repealing this law is over... [T]here's no good reason to go back."

Plenty of workers, family businesses, and freedom-loving Americans would disagree, as the most heinous parts of the law -- taxpayer-funded abortion, skyrocketing premiums, job losses, business cutbacks, conscience attacks -- continue to wreak havoc on the country. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seems intent on being the butt of health care jokes with ridiculous statements like yesterday's. Adding to her growing list of immortalized quotes, the former Speaker told reporters that ObamaCare was the Founding Fathers' dream. "[The law's critics] have not been an obstacle to the American people having healthier lives that our Founders wanted for them -- like a healthier life, liberty, the freedom to pursue their happiness."

I can hear them now -- "Give me ObamaCare or give me death!" "Four score and seven million enrollments ago..." In all honesty, ObamaCare represents everything the Founders opposed. An encroachment on liberty, livelihood, and lawfulness, the President's signature policy is the antithesis of the good governance this nation was founded upon. "My reading of history," wrote Thomas Jefferson, "convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."

Steel Magnolias: Mississippi Defies Left, Protects Freedom

Thanks to Mississippi's leaders, the latest bill to pass out of the legislature doesn't just add God to the state seal -- it adds Him back into the equation for business and organization leaders. Just a few weeks removed from the Arizona religious liberty debate, Mississippi managed to do what Governor Jan Brewer (R) wouldn't: support a measure that would protect the rights of citizens to protect their religious beliefs against government hostility. The Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, almost the same bill Arizona walked away from, passed overwhelmingly in the Magnolia State, where leaders refused to be bullied by homosexual activists and operated on fact -- not media distortions.

Unlike Arizona's leaders, Mississippi officials read the law, didn't listen to the hype, and as a result, they are one signature away from common sense religious protections that 18 other states already have. Late last night, SB 2681 cruised through the state House (79-43) and Senate (37-14) to Governor Phil Bryant's (R) desk, where it's expected to be signed. The victory was a huge one for FRC, who worked with local churches and conservative policy organizations to coordinate a pastors' letter in support of the measures with more than 600 signatures. That, in turn, helped to bring along the business community -- which, in Arizona, was so deceived by the media and outside leftist groups that it couldn't distinguish what the bill actually did. Mississippi companies didn't have that problem, because the state tuned out the propaganda and focused on the actual language.

Whether it's someone like Pastor Telsa DeBerry who was hindered by the Holly Springs city government from building a new church in the downtown area, or a wedding vendor, whose orthodox Christian faith won't allow her to affirm same-sex "marriage," SB 2681 would stop the government from infringing on religious exercise. The Founders, who came to America to live their lives, every aspect of their lives according to the teachings of their faith, never envisioned a government forcing Americans to choose between the basic teachings of their faith and losing their livelihood. We applaud Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn, and Senator Phillip Gandy, the bill's sponsor, for their leadership to defend religious freedom and for refusing to cower to egregious misrepresentations of a fair and reasonable religious liberty measure.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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