"We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." — Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, March 9, 2010
Two weeks after then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made those now-infamous comments about the health bill that was being pushed through Congress, President Obama signed into law his signature piece of legislation. I voted against the sweeping 2,300 page, $2.6 trillion unconstitutional law because I saw how disastrous it could become. And what a disaster it has been.
For starters, we've learned that it's going to cost a lot more than taxpayers were told. Despite Obama's claims that his law wouldn't add to our record-high deficits, the House Budget Committee found that Obamacare will add $701 billion to the deficit in the first 10 years of the law. Our national debt has already skyrocketed up to nearly $16 trillion. This is money we don't have to spend.
The White House also said that Obamacare would be good for our economy, but unfortunately the facts tell a different story. Obamacare will lead to the loss of 800,000 jobs, according to the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Considering our economy continues to struggle amidst the Obama Administration's failed economic policies, we cannot afford the health law's increased burdens on small businesses looking to create jobs and lead our economic recovery.
Obama repeatedly said that his health law would "bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family," but again, the facts tell a different story. The Congressional Budget Office projects an average increase of $2,100 per family in the individual market as a result of the law.
Sadly, the list of broken promises goes on and on. Report after report by independent organizations — and even in some cases from the Obama Administration itself — show that Obamacare has proven to be the disaster we knew it would be.
Utahns deserve a health system that empowers them, not the government. They deserve a system that lowers costs, not one that forces costs to go up because of incessant mandates. They deserve a law that allows them to make health care decisions between them and their doctor, not some bureaucrat sitting on an advisory board in Washington. Utahns deserve a health care system that allows them freedom of choice — free to choose what health care they want, or free to choose no health care insurance at all.
Under Obama's law, all individuals are mandated to purchase health insurance. This week, the Supreme Court is closely examining whether this requirement is allowed under the U.S. Constitution. But to me, this decision is crystal clear.
In the fall of 2009, as the health care law was being pushed through Congress, I stood up and said that it would be unconstitutional for Congress to require that Americans purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty. I was the first member of the Senate to say Obamacare is unconstitutional.
Some of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle said I was crazy, but I knew that if our Constitution allowed for the government to require Americans to purchase health insurance if they did not want it, then the government could force you to buy anything.
Later, I introduced the American Liberty Restoration Act in 2010 and again in 2011, which would repeal the unconstitutional individual mandate being challenged.
And as the Supreme Court considers this case next week, it's important to consider one key point: This case is not about health-care policy, but about whether we still have a real Constitution. This case is about whether our written Constitution still defines and limits federal power until the people say otherwise. The political makeup of our country will always change, but we must always protect the liberty that our system of government and our written Constitution make possible.
Regardless of your view of the president's health law, the facts do not lie. The law will cost taxpayers more than promised, will add billions of dollars to the deficit and will increase health-care premiums on hard-working Utah families. Additionally, the law infringes on our constitutional freedoms.
Obamacare is not what Utahns want, not what Utahns deserve and must not stand.
Orrin Hatch is in his sixth term as a Utah senator. He is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company