I’m not an anti-government fanatic, and neither are you probably. We understand that government has a role to play in our lives. Government is necessary for protecting us all and for maintaining order where sin might otherwise abound. That being said, this new Obamacare legislation is egregious. Just think about what it is going to do.
First, it nationalizes the healthcare industry (one-sixth of a very large economy). Second, and more significant, it is federal legislation over every individual in America. Granted, other laws affect every individual. This law, however, actually mandates activity for each individual from Washington, D.C. We have never operated like this before in America. This is not the America of the constitution or of the founding fathers.
In fact, this aspect of the healthcare bill will lead to constitutional challenges. Attorneys General in several states like Virginia are already preparing lawsuits to challenge the constitutionality of this bill. Specifically, as this Washington Post article points out, the issue at hand is whether the federal government has the power to pass laws which punish any and every American for not doing something. The healthcare bill punishes you if you decide not to purchase health insurance. In other words, by federal law (not state law), you are now no longer free to decide whether or not to buy health insurance.
There are further regulations on which plans you must purchase and on what must be provided in the plans, but you must realize the significance of the federal government telling you that you cannot choose to pay for your own medical expenses. The federal government says you must purchase insurance. And the federal government says that it will fine you a couple thousand dollars if you do not buy insurance. No one is free to join a medical sharing co-op. No one is free to invest $600 a month, setting aside the cash to pay for doctors visits, etc. Now, we must purchase a government approved plan–by federal law. I hope the courts agree that this bill is an unconstitutional overreach by the federal government.
Thanks Greg. So how do you think we should respond to people that say everyone deserves to have health insurance or access to healthcare?
In case the point is still not clear, I want to describe it from Obama’s perspective and show you the difficulties. President Obama likens this law to our laws requiring that we buy car insurance. If we desire to drive a car, we have to keep insurance or risk penalties. Apart from the fact that people are not cars, there are at least 3 major distinctions between mandated car insurance and this healthcare bill.
First, our mandated insurance laws are enacted on a state by state basis, not at the federal level. You have more local control with your own state officials.
Second, driving a car is a privilege which comes with responsibility. We understand that. The idea that operating dangerous equipment should come with some insurance against loss or damage is not such a difficult one to grasp for us. What is so distasteful about this healthcare bill is that it mandates insurance for you just because you are an American.
Third, the healthcare bill, unlike auto insurance, is governing inactivity. Auto insurance laws govern specific activities–driving a car, motorcycle, etc. The healthcare bill governs inactivity–not buying health insurance (for whatever reason).
If the federal government has the authority to regulate everything that you do not do with your body and your money, you are not in any meaningful sense free. I think this is the underlying purpose for the entire bill. It is a power grab by the federal government over every aspect of our lives–even our inactivity. That is why it is unconstitutional. The states must challenge this bill forcefully.
Whether people deserve health insurance or not, I do not know. I tend to think that is a privilege which people should be free to buy for themselves (or not). Even if we were to say that all people deserve health insurance, we would still not be as radical as this bill. This bill does not say that all people deserve health insurance. Rather, it says all people must pay for health insurance (and a government approved kind of health insurance). That is a far cry from saying that people deserve health insurance.
I think we get lost in some of the emotions of this issue. Which is better, to have health insurance or to have healthcare? Obviously, healthcare is the more important of the two. All Americans get care. You cannot and will not be turned away if you need care at a hospital. In fact, President Obama unwittingly made this point just last week in Ohio. He featured a woman who was in danger of losing her house because her insurance premiums went so high. She had to drop her health insurance to keep her house. The rest of the story, however, stated that the woman was in a hospital, receiving care, as she was recuperating from a surgery. She did not have health insurance, but she received health care, and she kept her home. And all of this took place without Obamacare. So, his example proved that we do not need his bill. Americans provide health care for all now (but my guess is that will change if Obamacare is ever fully enacted).