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Obamacare Hurts Middle Class Goals Of Millions

Jun 24, 2013 | Blog

Note: The following op-ed was published in Spanish in La Prensa Orlando’s June 20-26, 2013 edition.  Read that version here.

We live in a special country. Most people throughout history have lived in societies where how far you go in life was limited by family connections and other circumstances of your birth. But America was founded as a land of freedom where men and women – from all over the world – could pursue their dreams and go as far as their talent and hard work will take them. Our founders believed that people would flourish in a free enterprise system that protects their freedom to make their own choices, and over two centuries of unprecedented innovation and economic growth have proven them right.

But our nation has recently taken a troubling turn. With the passage of ObamaCare in 2010, the federal government has claimed the right to force people to buy health insurance – or else the scandal-plagued Internal Revenue Service will come after them to collect new tax penalties. It’s exactly the kind of policy that people immigrate to America to get away from. Those who come to start new lives here – as my parents did when they immigrated from Cuba in 1956 – come in search of new freedoms and economic opportunities, not government directives and mandates. 

ObamaCare hurts workers, hurts taxpayers and hurts job creators.  It threatens the middle class aspirations of millions, including the many Hispanics who are trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Unfortunately, numerous special interest groups are spending millions of dollars in advertising campaigns, particularly in Spanish language media, to convince people that ObamaCare is good for them. What they fail to mention is that the law could devastate workers by forcing employers to choose between paying for all of ObamaCare’s costs and taxes, or hiring fewer workers or making their employees part-time. 

In addition, while ObamaCare’s proponents boast of improving access to health care, it actually threatens the current health plans people have now and are satisfied with.  We must absolutely find more responsible ways to promote improved health care options, control rising health care costs and preserve the health care safety net that should exist to help people who cannot help themselves.  It’s why stopping ObamaCare is as much a necessity for job creation as it is for the goal of promoting improved health care options for our people. 

For this reason, I have proposed a measure to preserve every American’s “Right to Refuse” to purchase a good or service. This would ensure that the individual mandate in ObamaCare – as well as any future attempt to compel citizens to purchase a product the federal government has deemed necessary – is rendered unconstitutional. While most proposed amendments seek to make a fundamental change or addition to our Constitution, my “Right to Refuse” amendment aims only to clarify what most of us already know is a founding principle of this nation: we have the freedom to choose what is right for ourselves and our families.

I believe ObamaCare was a major public policy mistake from a health care standpoint – particularly for the way it threatens current coverage plans that people are satisfied with – but I believe that if this law is allowed to fully take effect, history will see it most of all as an economic mistake. ObamaCare is a job killer. All policies – including ObamaCare – are started with good intentions, but many do not end up producing positive results. I believe America must consult its time-tested founding principles to ensure that we take the right path forward for our nation. In this case, the right path is to repeal this job killing tax hike and return health care choices to the American people.