House Republicans have labored tirelessly since regaining the majority to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law. The lower chamber has voted to repeal Obamacare 41 times since 2011, fully cognizant that their efforts would falter in the Democratic-controlled U.S Senate. But as the executive branch prepares for implementation next year, the Obama administration is becoming increasingly evasive about the law’s shortcomings.
Just this past summer, the Obama administration announced the delay of the controversial employer mandate, requiring businesses to offer health insurance to their full-time employees. The decision came as both the private sector and the nation’s financial markets were responding to the overwhelming costs created by the law.
Republicans in Congress interpret the decision as a de facto admission by the administration that the law is harmful to the domestic economy. As complex provisions of the law surface, insurance providers are already raising rates to combat the expected market shifts. Privately, employers have begun cutting workers’ hours to circumvent the requirement, effectively reducing productivity. Many businesses fear they will have to cut employees altogether to offset the costs of providing insurance coverage to the workers they can keep.
The unfortunate recipients of these unintended consequences are America’s youth and young working adults. According to the most recent numbers, the youth unemployment rate is 16.3 percent, higher than the previous summer and more than double the national average. Young adults are experiencing so much difficulty finding employment that they are dropping out of the workforce altogether, which could signal catastrophic consequences for the economy in future. The loss of jobs can likely be attributed to the Great Recession, but the absence of job creation other than in the service industry can be blamed on legislation like Obamacare, which threatens the nation’s natural economic recovery.
Similarly, the reaction to the law thus far appears antithetical to the promises made by the president. As a presidential candidate, he promised that those who preferred to keep their health care providers would be able to do so, but in order for the law to unfold as planned, millions of young Americans must elect to participate. The Obama administration has made it artificially difficult for America’s youth not to participate by burdening private providers, who are then forced to inflate premiums. It doesn’t take a mathematician to understand that this isn’t the best way to extend coverage.
Since passing a continuing resolution to fund the federal government is a priority on this fall’s legislative agenda, House leaders see their greatest legislative opportunity yet to halt the law. Republican lawmakers, led by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), are embracing a proposal which suggests defunding Obamacare altogether in order to authorize raising the debt-ceiling to avoid a federal government shutdown later this month. Just this past week House leadership endorsed Graves’ plan, effectively signaling the imminence of a fierce battle ahead.
THE EDITORS: Mr. Cruz goes to Washington.
And thanks to a twenty-one hour Senate floor speech by Sen. Cruz – the fourth longest in the chamber’s history – the law’s discrepancies are at the forefront of the national conversation once again.
While this may be more a show of partisan posturing than actual policymaking, it is clear which party values free enterprise, a vibrant national economy and most importantly, our country’s youth.
—Nathan Williams is a sophomore studying economics & political science