The total repeal of Obamacare is the only rational, consistent, and moral course open to Republicans. Such an action would follow the Abolitionist tradition that led to the founding of the Republican Party. In 1854, former Whigs, ex-Free-Soilers, and a handful of anti-slavery Democrats founded the Republican Party in the midst of a burgeoning Abolitionist movement. The demand to abolish slavery was not nuanced or couched in gradualist arguments. Slavery was a moral outrage, and despite the Democrats’ protestations that slaveholders would lose the benefits of forced labor and millions of slaves would be suddenly homeless and unfed, Republicans abolished slavery. Every Republican in congress voted for the 13th Amendment. Only 19 Northern Democrats did, and not a single Democrat voted for either the 14th or 15th Amendments.
Republicans freed the slaves even though Democrats threatened — and ultimately resorted to — violence, insurrection, and civil war. Democrats founded the Ku Klux Klan to act as domestic terrorists. Democrats seceded from the Union. The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, prevailed against the Confederate States, made whole the nation, and abolished race-based slavery for all time.
Democrats, though, never really gave up on the oppression and control of blacks. Within half a century of their defeat, they had instituted odious Black Codes and Jim Crow laws, placed a Klan sympathizer in the White House, re-imposed segregation in the military and larger society, and — under the banner of Progressivism — instituted a subtle, sly form of universal slavery called the income tax. In 2010, Democrats continued their relentless progression toward total control over the individual with a new form of involuntary servitude: forcing every American to buy health insurance whether they want it or not, need it or not, or can afford it or not. The Affordable Care Act was designed to bring a sixth of the American economy under the control of the federal government.
Obamacare is a noxious and moral outrage. It is odious to the Constitution, to the free-market pillars of our nation, and to the individual rights to property, choice, and self-ownership. Everything that was wrong with health care before Obamacare was the fault of government control. The degree to which the government interfered with the triadic relationship among doctors, patients, and insurers was the degree to which the health-care system suffered. Obamacare expanded to near-totality the harmful effects of government control while almost entirely eliminating the few remaining ameliorating factors of choice and freedom in health care.
Few think that the health care provided by the VA or Medicare or Medicaid is quality health care, yet Obamacare was intended to bring the same low-quality, high-cost, and cruelly bureaucratic health-care rationing to every American — by force of law and pain of punishment. Obamacare was intentionally designed to fail, to drive insurance and health-care costs so high and restrict access so drastically that Democrats and the media hoped they could declare free choice in health insurance dead and announce the dawn of single-payer, totally socialized, centrally controlled health care — a goal of theirs since the dawn of the Progressive Era a century ago.
Outright repeal of Obamacare — Abolition — is the only position every single solitary Republican should take. Slavery was not “repealed and replaced.” It was not “reformed” or “fixed.” No Republican wrung his hands over whether abolition would “negatively impact” the cotton market due to the “uncertainty” created by freeing the slaves. No Republican vacillated out of concern that newspapers might cover them negatively for not “crossing the aisle” to seek a “bipartisan solution.” When righting a wrong, none of these considerations matter — they are only excuses to continue the abuses.
If this were 1863, would Senator Shelley Moore Capito be arguing that she “didn’t come to Washington to hurt people” such as slaveholders and their families or to deprive blacks of the room, board, and health care they received on plantations? Would she say “I don’t think it’s constructive to repeal a law so interwoven with our [economic] system without having a replacement in place”?
Would Senator Lisa Murkowski demand that a slavery-replacement plan be considered at the same time as the 13th Amendment? Would she say “the Senate should take a step back and engage in a bipartisan process to address the failures” of slavery and use taxpayer dollars to bail out the plantation owners to “stabilize the individual markets”?
Would Senator Susan Collins worry that emancipation from slavery would “affect the most vulnerable”? Would she say “We should not be making fundamental changes in… a program that’s been on the books for [hundreds of] years without evaluating what the consequences will be”?
Would Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put a two-year delay into the 13th Amendment to allow time to find a bipartisan replacement plan for slavery?
No! All of them would have been drummed out of the nascent Republican Party as gutless compromisers perpetuating the enslavement of millions. Consequences be damned, the only solution to a moral outrage is its utter and immediate abolition. Abolitionism is the root of the Republican tree and its greatest strength. Abolition is absolute. It cannot be disguised as anything else. Abolitionism defies all attempts to compromise, appease, sell out, or betray.
Abolition must always be the first and only position when Republicans and freedom-lovers of any stripe encounter a moral evil such as Obamacare.
Victor Koman is the author of several award-winning novels, including Solomon’s Knife and Kings of the High Frontier. His Ph.D. was conferred by Capella University in 2016.