Repealing ObamaCare a good start to alleviating the U.S. debt problem

In 2006, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) voted against increasing America’s debt limit because, as he put it, “America has a debt problem.” I couldn’t agree more. In the past five years alone, the debt ceiling has been raised six times, while spending has increased to unprecedented levels. Any serious debate about raising the debt ceiling, yet again, cannot begin without the firm resolution of both the Congress and the White House to cut spending first, and the best place to start is with the repeal of President Obama’s healthcare law.

ObamaCare will add $701 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years and will cost $2.6 trillion within the law’s first 10 years of full implementation. In addition, analysts predict that the law’s various jobs-killing provisions will create further economic fallout of alarming proportions. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the law will lead to the loss of about 650,000 jobs, while a study by the National Federation of Independent Business suggests a possible hemorrhage of 1.6 million jobs. By either estimate, we are looking at a loss, not a gain, which is a losing proposition for a nation on the brink of insolvency.

I own a car dealership in Butler, Pa., and, like many small business owners across the country, the worst part of the healthcare law is the uncertainty that it has created within the private sector. We have read about the growing list of companies and unions granted temporary exemptions from the healthcare reform rules and regulations, from McDonald’s and Denny’s to any union with membership rolls exceeding 140,000. The fact that there is a need to grant waivers to over 200 organizations, and the seemingly subjective process by which it is done, shows the American people just how flawed and ill-conceived this policy was. Rammed through the legislative process and forced down the throats of the American people, ObamaCare was created amid a crisis and has since created one of its own. And the majority of the American people have spoken: Repeal it now and replace it with commonsense reforms.

When my dealership suffered a 40 percent downturn in revenues a couple of years ago, I had to go through each department and streamline costs, trimming every piece of fat from our operations in order to survive. When I got a call from General Motors saying that I could no longer sell Cadillacs at my dealership as a result of the government takeover, I fought back and managed to save the company that my father started just years after returning from World War II. Unfortunately, not all small businesses are able to absorb intrusive government regulations into their business model, and many are forced to stagnate, cut jobs or, at times, close their doors. 

The 112th Congress has an opportunity to right the wrong that is ObamaCare. Instead of pursuing a job-killing and overreaching government takeover of the healthcare industry, the Republican caucus has put forward measures to reform our healthcare system that are rooted in the democratic and free-market principles that have made our nation great. Repealing this bill is not enough. Healthcare reform, particularly with cost controls, is needed. This should be approached methodically and piecemeal, with an emphasis on producing measurable outcomes that maintain the quality of care and delivery of services deserving of the American public. 

In then-Sen. Obama’s 2006 speech against raising the debt ceiling, he said, “Leadership means ‘The buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.” I couldn’t agree more. 

Rep. Kelly is the freshman representative from Pennsylvania’s 3rd congressional district.