So-called health care reform passed today.
- Reform was supposed to cut costs for health care. Instead it increases them.
- Reform was supposed to ease the burden of health care on businesses. Instead it imposes a fine on businesses for not providing health care, and tightens the relationship between employment and health insurance coverage.
- Reform was supposed to increase choice in the health care marketplace. Instead it forces people to purchase health insurance from existing providers. It compels people to purchase health insurance no matter what their employment situation, whether they want it or not. It imposes a fine on people who do not comply.
- Reform was supposed to make the delivery of health services more efficient. Instead it creates new rules and procedures, including fifty state-run health insurance exchanges, that add complexity to the health care system and make streamlining even more difficult than it was before.
- Reform was supposed to be carried out consistent with government’s pledge to impose no new taxes. Instead it creates new taxes to cover the cost of covering the currently uninsured, in addition to the fines cited above.
- Reform was supposed to take into account the interests of all parties involved in health care: patients and their families, doctors and other health care providers, insurance companies, hospitals and clinics, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, state and federal governments. Instead it satisfies a narrow group of determined people in the Democratic party, and shows no evidence of compromise among these group interests.
- Reform was supposed to bring us, if not together, at least into a national conversation about how to improve the delivery and funding of health care services. Instead many are angry that health care reform should have taken such a wrong turn while so many interested parties were excluded from the legislative process.
- Reform was supposed to secure Medicare’s fiscal health for at least the next generation, and contribute to the fiscal health of the federal government in general. Instead the main anxiety about health care reform is the impact it has on the government’s books. Few are confident we can pay for it.
- Reform was supposed to be an opportunity for political parties to work out necessary compromises. Instead the process of reform began with the majority party telling the minority party to get out of the way: we don’t need you and we don’t need to listen to you.
- Reform was supposed to give people peace of mind that when they have a failure of health, or when they need professional health services, quality services would be available. Instead we are anxious about what the future holds, and doubtful that quality services will actually be available when we need them.
Did you notice that as Nancy Pelosi crowed about passage of the legislation, she pointed approvingly to Medicare? Democrats proudly applauded their work as the biggest improvement to health care since the enactment of Medicare. But over decades Medicare gradually caused the federal government to go bankrupt! A key impetus toward reform in the first place was government’s inability to keep funding Medicare at such a high level. Opponents of Medicare predicted that would happen, and it did. What solution did the Democrats offer to deal with this budget crisis? You have it in front of you now. If you see effective cost containment in this bill, please tell me because I can’t find it.
Tell me again why, if health care is a right, the government forces me to buy it? That’s like saying you have freedom of worship, and we’ll force you to attend church every Sunday. You also have a right to vote, and we’ll fine you if you don’t go to the polls on election day. I have a right to bear arms, too, but who can tell me I have to carry a handgun?
Fact is, health care is not a right listed in our Constitution, nor have the courts written that people, as citizens, are entitled to it. Forcing people to buy it is clearly unconstitutional. A long time ago, however, the federal government turned the Tenth Amendment on its head: all rights and powers not expressly granted to the states are reserved for the national government. We’ve operated according to that counter-productive principle for more than a century now, and it will take a revolution that originates with the states to recover the powers that belong to them. Let the resistance start now. Who has the courage to stand against this corrupt Congress and its overreaching leaders?