One of America’s prime examples of the need for term limits in the House of Representatives is retiring this year. Democrat Henry Waxman is finally leaving Congress after spending 40 years at the public trough.
During that time the country has managed to survive seven different presidents, including my father, yet the "indispensible" Waxman clung to his seat like a barnacle on the ship of state. (Although I must admit the jury and our survival is still out on the current occupant of the White House.)
California voters imposed term limits on state officials years ago and regularly beat back attempts from the political class to try and overturn the vote, yet members of Congress have exempted themselves from this common-sense reform.
If you want to judge Waxman’s knowledge and level of engagement firsthand, I invite you to watch his interview in the movie "Bigger, Stronger, Faster," by Chris Bell. Waxman, who elbows his way in front of the TV cameras during the steroid in sports debate, is remarkably clueless regarding the particulars of that and related issues. Even though I have a sneaking suspicion he can recite the name and phone number of every reporter covering the issue from memory.
Two primary pieces of legislation compose Waxman’s dubious legacy. The first is the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The man former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi describes as possessing “extraordinary legislative skill” produced a bill that was a direct hit on health insurance marketplace. "Skillful" Henry’s goal was to lower healthcare costs and cover the uninsured.
How did that work out? In California alone more people lost health insurance coverage they had before Waxman’s law passed than signed up for coverage after Obamacare went into effect. Net result: The problem is worse; more people are uninsured in his home state than before his "signature" bill passed. And as for making health insurance more affordable, don’t make me or the rest of California laugh.
On the Medicaid front Waxman fought to expand the taxpayer-subsidized program to cover more and more people while exerting more and more control over the healthcare marketplace. Waxman doubled down with a program that provides poorer healthcare outcomes than no insurance at all, as well as even more expensive and fiscally unsound.
But why should he worry? Waxman’s health insurance will be covered by taxpayers from now on and his pension is untouchable.
He can’t leave soon enough for me. But I’m haunted by the thought his cronies in Congress may start naming federal buildings after him, which means we will never be allowed to forget his name.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
© Mike Reagan