By Rand Paul
Earlier this week, in an effort led by Sen. Ted Cruz, some of my Republican colleagues and I took to the Senate floor with the intent of making Washington listen. The American people have made it abundantly clear that they do not want Obamacare. In fact, a majority of elected officials, the same officials that voted to implement this health care mandate, do not want it, either.
Last summer, in a 5-4 decision authored by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Supreme Court wrongly concluded that Obamacare's individual mandate could stand. As a consequence of the court's ruling, starting on Oct. 1, whether they want it or not, Americans will be compelled to purchase a government-mandated product -- health insurance -- or pay a tax.
What should infuriate you the most is the fact that the same elected officials who implemented this mandate have recently declared themselves exempt from it. That is to say, these officials are forcing you to partake in something that they themselves are refusing. If Obamacare is so great, why then are federal employees and elected officials getting special treatment and opting out?
If President Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid and Chief Justice Roberts love Obamacare so much, they should live under it. Their actions speak louder than words, and it is erroneous for these leaders to even attempt to claim that Obamacare is a step forward for Americans.
The American people do not approve of the Obamacare mandate and flocked to town halls across the country to let their representatives know it. In fact, only 12 percent of Americans think Obamacare will have a positive impact on their lives, according to a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll.
Headlines across the nation shows the harm Obamacare is imposing on Americans: "Georgia Healthcare Company Cuts 101 Employees due to Obamacare," "Michigan School District Cuts Hours for Employees Because of Obamacare," "Cleveland Clinic Announces Job Cuts to Prepare for Obamacare" and "Small Businesses Consider Dropping Healthcare Plans Under Obamacare," just to name a few.
Before the Obamacare health insurance exchanges open on Oct. 1, we are already witnessing the negative effects this mandate is having on those it intended to help. We cannot even begin to fathom all of the negative effects Obamacare holds.
Based on separate analyses from Congressional Budget Office and Deloitte, between 20 million and 65 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored health insurance policies, and according to the CBO, the health care reform law will destroy 800,000 jobs.
An analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation and the CBO from September 2012 shows that in 2016, half of the tax imposed by the individual mandate will fall on those making an annual income of less than $120,000 for a family of four, or $59,000 for an individual. Families of four making $72,000 or less (and individuals making $35,400 or less) will bear 35 percent of the mandate tax. This is a direct tax on the middle class.
Through its proposed $1 trillion in tax increases, the $716 billion in Medicare cuts, and the individual mandates and regulations, it is clear that Obamacare will swiftly harm our country.
I find it absolutely despicable that Mr. Obama, his administration and the elected officials who shoved this mandate down the throat of Americans are now giving themselves waivers. The president is also giving his friends waivers. Mr. Obama's behavior mirrors that of a captain jumping overboard, abandoning his own sinking ship.
I have a proposal. I have offered an amendment that would outlaw any special exemptions for government employees. This amendment requires all federal workers to purchase health insurance from the new Obamacare exchanges, instead of receiving taxpayer-funded subsidies.
I am also introducing a more broad constitutional amendment, which states that Congress shall make no law that treats citizens differently from the elites in the federal government.
Political leaders such as Mr. Obama and Mrs. Pelosi need to realize that they are not above the American people, and they are not above our laws, period. If Chief Justice Roberts thinks it is OK for the federal government to tax individuals if they don't buy expensive private health insurance plans, he should be forced into Obamacare's government-centered health care system. Members of Congress should also be forced to suffer under the same flawed health care system that Washington wants to use as a social experiment on the American people.
My legislation and constitutional amendment will remind all elected officials that they are not above the law, and they are certainly not above the American people.