Sen. Patrick Colbeck: Avoiding the Obamacare Bait and Switch

State Senator: Health care legislation 'has resulted in objectionable infringements on religious liberty.'


On June 6, 2009, President Obama unleashed his plan for a government-run healthcare system that would “lower costs, improve quality and coverage, and also protect consumer choice.” Today as a direct result of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” we are seeing more taxes taken out of our middle class paychecks and the prospect of skyrocketing insurance premiums in 2014. We are seeing that “quality” is decreasing as access to the care for which you are eligible becomes a function of your age and political affiliations not your needs. We are seeing that the administration’s idea of “consumer choice” is really a case of “my way or the highway.” 

At least 1,231 organizations have successfully applied for waivers to Obamacare, thereby establishing a privileged class of 613,625 Americans. Clearly, there are many people concerned about this legislation. 

Against this backdrop, we have a federal government that has failed to pass a budget for over four years. Their continuing budget “resolutions” feature trillion dollar deficit after trillion dollar deficit. Why is the federal government having such difficulty balancing their budgets? Federal political dysfunction aside, the plain truth of the matter is that entitlement spending is spiraling out of control. 

In contrast, our state government has not only passed our budget four months early the past two years, we have also made sure it was balanced, paid down debts and put aside funds for a rainy day. The Governor and my fellow legislators have worked hard to restore a measure of fiscal stability in our state to protect our youth from an unbearable financial burden. 

And now, our great state of Michigan is being asked – OK… told- by the federal government to hitch a ride on their road to serfdom. Yes, Obamacare is indeed the law of the land. I took an oath of office to support the U.S. Constitution and the supremacy clause contained therein. I will indeed honor that oath, but I will not do so blindly. In addition to continued advocacy for the repeal of this anti-American legislation, we need to make sure that we push the envelope of compliance in favor of the citizens of Michigan. 

Yes, we need to lower the costs of healthcare. Yes, we need to improve quality and coverage. Yes, we need to protect consumer choice. Clearly, the Obamacare blueprint strikes out on all three goals. Thankfully, there are simple solutions that do accomplish these laudable goals with simple modifications to federal regulations. These solutions all revolve around a return to the most basic of American principles - freedom. 

The first of these solutions is to simply allow the free market to participate. Keep the government focused on government safety net programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Let the private sector provide healthcare services outside of the shackles of a government-run exchange. Allow multiple private sector “exchanges” to connect with government systems that determine eligibility for government assistance for their customers. Competition will drive down prices, improve quality, and provide more consumer choice. 

The second of these solutions is to stop the federal government from telling us what kind of healthcare we must have. Every state already has a unique set of insurance coverage mandates. We don’t need the federal government piling on with national mandates. We need to remove the federal regulatory authority to define “essential benefits” when it comes to health insurance. In addition to driving up healthcare costs, this regulatory authority has resulted in objectionable infringements on religious liberty. 

As of Jan. 31, 2013, 25 states have said no to state-based exchanges. Much has been made of states being granted the opportunity to create their own exchanges. What our citizens need to know is that while these exchanges might be “created” by the states or even “operated” by the states, they are not “controlled” by the states. The federal government makes all of the rules. 

The federal government is playing entitlement “hot potato” with the states regarding your health and wealth. They are now attempting to pass their hot potato of debt and out-of-control budgets to the hardworking citizens of Michigan. We need to avoid the bait and switch my fellow Michiganders. 

Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton
7th District

Denise Nash February 13, 2013 at 05:39 PM
"Why is the federal government having such difficulty balancing their budgets? Federal political dysfunction aside, the plain truth of the matter is that entitlement spending is spiraling out of control." Perhaps there *are* a lot of baby boomers starting to get social security to which they are "entitled", but you forgot the defense budget "spiraling out of control". Bring our brave men and women home. And cut the defense budget by 75%. As for your "Religious Liberty": How about mine? My religious liberty involves not having to be tied into YOUR view of religion, Mr. Colbeck. And please PLEASE bring up what a bang-up job you and your friends are doing in Lansing. Taxes UP, School funding CUT, Right-to-work-for-less instituted, Women's health issues stymied. I guess the DeVos people are happy as heck with you. Too bad you don't represent Grand Rapids! Can't wait to vote you out in 2014.
Boiling February 13, 2013 at 06:34 PM
ALL: Nicely put. Don't forget that Mr. Colbeck will leave the Michigan Legislature with a FAT Benefit package that will not be subject to his bullet points in this editorial. He speaks of Religious Liberty but is not concerned about the average working class John/Jane Doe. Remember 2014 and beyond. Mr. Colbeck hasn't earned, nor does he deserve our votes or respect. He is nothing but a Bigot and is Hypocritical in his political ideology.
Scott February 13, 2013 at 06:58 PM
What about Colbeck's own bait and switch? He talks about low taxes, however the revisions to the homestead property tax credit cost many Michiganders a $1200 per year tax increase. While there was a need to simplify business taxes, Colbeck and others did a bait and switch by shifting taxes from business to groups of individuals, many who would not realize the effect until filing their taxes at the end of the following year to see they have lost tax credits or their pensions were now being taxed. When I emailed Sen. Colbeck's office to voice my concerns, I got a form letter that did not address a single issue I brought up. Sen. Colbeck does not represent the people, he represents special interest who line his pockets. Two of whom apparently are the health insurance industry and the drug companies who would like to keep the status quo at our expense. He contradicts himself in his criticism by saying the administration's stance is 'my way or the highway' while in the next paragraph complains about waivers? Which is it senator? If it was 'my way or the highway' there would be no waivers. Waivers are there to allow something outside the box if it works. Colbeck's idea of healthcare reform is do nothing. His idea of tax reform is to tax working people more so he can tax his buddies less.
Neva Nahan February 14, 2013 at 02:00 PM
** oops - dropped a word in my post. I meant to type "The Affordable Care Act does NOT dictate the type of health coverage you should get." Big goof.. sorry about that.
Brad Jensen February 20, 2013 at 07:04 PM
His alternative to Obamacare is the status quo. No new ideas here. Continue to pay twice as much as other countries with 1/3 of the population regulated to only receiving acute care in emergency rooms. Worse health outcomes than most industrialized countries. That's your idea of "liberty"?


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