Most people understand that public servants, especially politicians, serve the people and part of their service includes following the law according to their oath of office, but Republicans reject the law when it contradicts ultra-conservative think tanks funded by wealthy industrialists Charles and David Koch. The Constitution is clear on how legislation becomes the law of the land, and one expects elected officials to reject special interest groups demands when they oppose established law, but over the past four years Republicans have demonstrated their disdain for the Constitution when neo-conservative think tanks have a different agenda.
The Affordable Care Act was hotly contested after it passed both houses of Congress and President Obama’s signature making it a legitimate law, and after it was upheld in the Supreme Court, one thought Republicans would finally accept that it cleared every legal challenge and begin implementing provisions at the state level to help 20-30 million Americans get access to affordable health care. One of the mainstays of Willard Romney’s campaign was his promise to repeal the ACA on his first day in office that not only displayed his ignorance of the repeal process, but also his lack of concern that millions of Americans would once again be at the mercy of the predatory health insurance industry and suffer from lack of healthcare. However, Romney’s defeat was not the end of the battle over the ACA and, as expected, Republican governors are doing the bidding of the Koch Brothers to frustrate the health law’s implementation.
The Koch Brothers think-tank, Americans for Prosperity, handed down a warning to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for not rejecting provisions in the ACA to submit health insurance exchange plans ahead of the health law’s full implementation. Republicans were already furious with Christie for praising President Obama’s rapid response to the super-storm Sandy that ravaged parts of the East Coast last week, and now the Koch Brothers are pressuring him to reject a New Jersey exchange bill to rebuff the ACA’s requirement before a November 16 cutoff date for states to set up health insurance exchanges. If states fail to set up the exchanges, the federal government does it for them and the provision gave individual states leeway to set up a healthcare marketplace according to their resident’s needs.
The New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity sent out a press release Thursday questioning Governor Christie’s obedience to the Koch Brothers and encouraged him to accept the “burden on the states to thwart” the ACA because after Republicans lost the election, “Congress will not be able to repeal the law.” The press release cited “other conservative governors across the country like Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and others have already taken a principled stand,” and questioned whether Christie “will prevent New Jerseyans from having their health care choices controlled by federal bureaucrats? Or will he continue to go along to get along with Barack Obama?” Now, the issue is not whether Christie is going along with the President, but rather, will he be vindictive and take away the state’s right to set up their own exchanges or leave it to the federal government. Either way, the health law will be implemented.
The conservative governors are not thwarting implementation of the ACA, because if states refuse to set up their own health insurance marketplace, the federal government will do it for them according to provisions of the ACA. Republicans like Jindal, Scott, and Perry epitomize why this country suffers from divisiveness and it is founded in Republicans’ refusal to follow legally passed laws under the Obama Administration. Besides pure vindictiveness targeting any law President Obama signed, this issue exposes a larger problem facing this nation and it is whether or not the Constitution or the John Bircher Koch Brothers are the law of the land. The Americans for Prosperity press release cited Republican governors “principled stand” against the health law, but their refusal to set up exchanges will not stop it’s implementation. This incident is not about the health law, but about who controls Republicans.
The Koch brothers have not always been antagonistic against Christie as long as he followed their edicts, and last year David Koch praised Christie for pushing legislation the Koch’s ordered Republicans to support. Koch praised Christie for eliminating public workers’ right to bargain collectively for health benefits, and for pulling New Jersey out of a Northeastern states regional cap-and-trade market to curb industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Christie said in October he would wait for the outcome of the election to decide whether or not he would set up health insurance exchanges, but the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity memo warned him there are harsh consequences for any further pro-Obama apostasy.
Republicans spent billions in the election to undo legislative achievements of the Obama Administration by supporting Romney’s failed bid for the presidency, and looking back at Willard’s promises to repeal the health law, environmental protections, Wall Street and banking reforms was part of a bigger plan to eradicate the President’s accomplishments from the historical record through repeal and elimination. Romney’s opposition to the President’s achievements put him squarely in line with the Koch brothers and their attempt to rule America through the Republican Party, and the Kochs have willing participants throughout the GOP who agree that America is destined to be governed by a handful of wealthy industrialists and plutocrats with total disregard for the Constitution, the people, and legally elected representatives.
If Republicans and Romney wonder why they lost the election, they should look more at whom they swore allegiance to and not only their racism, religious extremism, and Dark Age position on social issues. The Republican opposition to the health law is pathetic on its face, but it is representative of the larger problem of their opposition to democracy. The health law legally passed both houses of Congress, the President, and Supreme Court, and now that Republicans are unable to repeal it, at the direction of the Kochs they will “take a principled stand” to show their disregard for the legislative process and the will of the electorate who gave the President a mandate to govern based on his record. Republicans need to re-evaluate more than just their anti-government, anti-woman, anti-equality, and un-American agenda and consider that they are serving the wrong masters, because voters decide elections; not the Koch brothers or their John Birch think tanks.