Compass: Begich ill serves Alaska with support for Obamacare

Four years ago this week, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, commandeering one-sixth of the nation's economy and fundamentally changing the American health care system for the worse.

Alaskans have Sen. Mark Begich and his democratic colleagues in the House and Senate to thank for Obamacare. They forced the health care law - one of the most complex pieces of legislation in our nation's history - through Congress in a completely partisan fashion, without a single Republican vote and against the will of the American people. As a result, thousands of Alaskans have lost the health care coverage they once relied on, leading to higher deductibles, fewer choices, and less freedom.

Before the passage of the health care law, President Obama and Senator Begich promised Alaskans that if they like their health care plan, they could keep it. This disingenuous promise earned Democrats a nonpartisan fact checking publication, PolitiFact's, "Lie of the Year" award. Rather than admitting he was wrong, Senator Begich has doubled down on the health care law, even introducing legislation to expand it.

Alaskans aren't better off under Obamacare and expanding it won't make things better. They need a true independent voice to fight it. While I was Alaska's attorney general, I did just that. With a small team of attorneys, I spent weeks evaluating the law, trying to understand all of its components and the constitutionality of its provisions, many of which are legally dubious. I concluded that it was in Alaska's interest to sue the Obama administration given the massive expansion of federal power over states and individual Americans found under Obamacare. I will continue that fight as Alaska's United States Senator - to repeal and replace this misguided law - that was not even read by many members of Congress who voted for it.

As I campaign around the state, I have heard numerous stories of the broken promises that characterize Obamacare: cancelled policies, unaffordable premiums, and less access to care. Employers and small business owners have also told me about their reluctance to hire new workers, and the perverse financial incentives of ObamaCare to no longer provide their employees with health insurance.

Adding to the frustration and angst from ObamaCare has been its botched rollout and haphazard implementation. Throughout the process, President Obama has continually ignored the rule of law, unilaterally rewriting and moving statutory deadlines and requirements - not to help Alaskans with their health-care challenges, but to help vulnerable Democrats like Sen. Begich who are up for reelection this fall. Under the U.S. Constitution, the president simply does not have the power to change the laws. President Obama has even delayed ObamaCare's implementation for big businesses and select Congressional staffers, while leaving Alaska families out in the cold.

Sen. Begich and I have fundamental disagreements on the direction of health care in this country. Alaskans have a choice. He was the deciding 60th vote on Obamacare; I fought on behalf of Alaskans as your attorney general to stop it. He believes in a health care system that is controlled by the federal government; I believe that Alaska families should be empowered to make their own health care decisions with their doctor, not government bureaucrats. He and his allies in Congress support a president who consistently ignores and rewrites ObamaCare's mandates; I believe in the sanctity of the rule of law and abiding by the U.S. Constitution.

Dan Sullivan is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.