How Obamacare Derailed the Economic Recovery
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The Fiscal Times
March 28, 2012

Here we go again. All eyes are on the Supreme Court as it wrestles with whether or not President Obama’s healthcare bill is constitutional. The country is divided on the merits of the law, but this we can say with certainty: Obamacare profoundly gummed up our recovery from the financial crisis.

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Like every predecessor, President Obama has made mistakes. Perhaps none will cloud his legacy more that his decision to focus on overhauling our healthcare system early in his administration – before our economic recovery had gained enduring momentum.

Assuming that the $800 billion Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the stimulus, would work the magic promised by his economics team, Mr. Obama set off on his quest to guarantee healthcare for every American. The resulting food fight over the legislation – the ugly parceling out of favors in return for votes and lies told to justify passage -- permanently damaged President Obama’s reputation, divided a country desperate to heal, and distracted the White House from further efforts to build employment. It was a terrible decision, and the country continues to pay for it.

Whether or not the Supreme Court upholds the government’s mandate that every American must purchase healthcare insurance, Obamacare is a failure.

It was, ironically, a decision made by a president eager to secure his legacy. Undaunted by the abject failure of Hilary Clinton to win support for universal healthcare, Mr. Obama took up the quest with enthusiasm. Just as he admitted to excessive optimism about bringing peace to the Middle East in an interview in Time Magazine, dubbing that effort “really hard,” Mr. Obama naively staked his presidency on healthcare reform. Here’s a shocker: remaking 17percent of the economy is also “really hard.”

Whether or not the Supreme Court upholds the government’s mandate that every American must purchase healthcare insurance, Obamacare is a failure. In spite of innumerable speeches, editorials and presentations on the merits of the law, Americans don’t like it. Though most people recognize that ever-rising healthcare outlays threaten our nation’s fiscal integrity, they can’t imagine that granting free health services to 30 million Americans will solve the problem. They see the Affordable Care Act as a massive expansion of government activity that will not make healthcare affordable but that will instead drive costs higher as millions more receive a blank check for medical services.

After more than two decades on Wall Street as a top-ranked research analyst, Liz Peek became a columnist and political analyst. Aside from The Fiscal Times, she writes for FoxNews.com, The New York Sun and Women on the Web.