On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.
The Act itself is a 2,700-page behemoth that was hastily cobbled together in secrecy and through backroom deals by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and a bunch of health insurance lobbyists.
The Act was the culmination of a tumultuous year for health care “reform” that witnessed several false starts and a near mutiny in the Congress. Pelosi and Reid, along with Obama, embraced the Act despite its obvious flaws. In doing so, they ignored the American people.
The Act has been in place for more than two years now and it has already earned a dubious track record. For starters, the Act had to undergo a major amendment because one of its provisions threated to wipe out countless small businesses. The Act has also led to the near extinction of child-only health plans.
The Act has not brought down health care costs or the cost of insurance, as was promised by the promoters of it. Moreover, the Act would have caused an exodus of health insurers from Georgia had I not intervened and requested a waiver of one of the requirements of the Act.
Tellingly, my waiver request was granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the executive agency that is charged with implementing the Act and is led by President Obama’s appointees — presumably supporters of the Act.
Even they agreed with me, at least in part, that the Act was harmful.
Not only does the Act not work as promised, I believe it is unconstitutional. Though I am not a lawyer, I understand, as all Americans understand, that our Constitution is a document that limits the power of the federal government.
If the federal government can force you to enter into an unwanted contract of insurance under the Commerce Clause, then, as was observed by an Obama appointee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “there is no limit to that power.’’
I can put it no better than did Justice Anthony Kennedy when he said that the Act “changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way.”
I, along with millions of my fellow citizens, oppose the Act, not because we oppose reform of health care, but because we oppose a government takeover of health care and we oppose the destruction of individual freedom that the Act portends.
The Act does not reform health care because on balance it does not improve health care. Quite the opposite. It changes health care into a commodity that will be more expensive and less effective, and will render a free people less free.
The real solution and the real reform is to be found using free-market principles, not in an overbearing government program. I hope that Georgia gets that opportunity.
Ralph Hudgens was elected Georgia’s insurance commissioner in 2010. A Republican, Hudgens is a businessman and served in the Georgia General Assembly for 14 years.