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Ugly truth surrounds Obama's health plan

Posted By Patrice Lewis On 08/01/2009 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Right now Obama is stumping hard to get his health care reform passed. Obamacare is backed by most of the liberal Democrats, of course, though the “Blue Dogs” are causing trouble. Obama is crying out for justice for the poor and oppressed. “We can’t afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care,” he said. “Not this time. Not now. There are too many lives and livelihoods at stake.” I’m not sure why he suddenly considers the matter a national emergency in which every second counts, but there you go.

The Republicans are countering with a health care reform plan of their own. House Republican leader John Boehner explains: “House Republicans have offered real reforms that would lower health care costs … our plan roots out waste, fraud and abuse in the system and reforms medical liability rules that cost families millions each year …”

Next we hear an eloquent plea by Ted Kennedy, who is dying of the same brain tumor that killed a dear friend of mine.

“… quality care shouldn’t depend on your financial resources, or the type of job you have, or the medical condition you face,” Kennedy said. “…we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American … will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege.”

Yes, passions are running high as this crisis is debated in the halls of government as well as in cafés across the land, though crunching the numbers shows that fewer people are without insurance than the government would like us to believe.

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Yet in all the arguments pro and con, I don’t hear the most profound and obvious point of all. Ready?

It is not the place of government to supply health insurance.

Want another profundity?

Health care is not a right.

There, I’ve said it.

Why are these points being ignored? Why do we expect the government to supply something as personal as health care? Why should I expect that everyone else should pay for my health care?

The fact of the matter is, it isn’t the government’s business to pay for anyone’s mortgage. Or education. Or credit card bills. Or clunker vehicles. And it sure as hell isn’t the government’s business to pay for anyone’s health insurance. All of these things are not rights. In this country, we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit (not the achievement) of happiness. We do not have the “right” to health care, to an education or to mortgage relief. These are things we need to do ourselves, using our own ingenuity, resources, abilities, and (for the less fortunate) charity and compassion.

In other words, we do not have the “right” to take from others to benefit ourselves.

The ugly truth about government health care reform – whether proposed by the Democrats or the Republicans – is that it will add staggering bureaucracy to an already overly regulated industry. Think about your average Veterans’ hospital and you’ll get the idea.

Obviously, it’s too late to do anything about Medicaid or Medicare. Those systems (for better or worse) are already in place and millions of people depend on them. (Whether that dependency is good is another subject altogether.)

But for crying out loud, why is the government so hot to get its dirty fingers into something as important as health care?

For those who assume I speak from a position of lofty privilege, I’m happy to alleviate your concerns. We went without health insurance for nearly ten years, through multiple injuries (including the accidental amputation of my husband’s thumb), a couple of cancer scares and the birth of both our children. We made private arrangements with the hospital and paid off every dime over time. A few years ago we scraped together the money for catastrophic insurance. Since we’re self-employed and our income hovers not far above the poverty level, it’s the best we can do. Most doctor visits are paid for out-of-pocket. Dental and eye exams aren’t covered, so they also come out of pocket. Satisfied?

So when I say it’s not the government’s place to provide me with health insurance, I’m not speaking from a position of wealth. We’re just poor working Joes like most Americans. So I’ll say it again: Health care is not a right. It’s not the government’s place to provide it.

You can brand me as a cruel unfeeling jerk with no compassion for those unable to afford health insurance. You can argue that the poor need the government to take care of them. It’s the compassionate, humane thing to do.

But it is not the government’s job to be compassionate (since government “compassion” does little but foster dependency). It is merely the government’s job to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote (not provide for) the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” No more, no less. Anything else is merely an attempt to spread the wealth, grab unconstitutional powers, increase our dependency, and reduce our freedoms.

The question is not which political party has the best health care reform plan. The question is whether the government should be meddling in something in which it has no business. Obviously I’m a lone voice crying in the wilderness, because if the government can take over General Motors it will have no qualms about taking over health care. But why is it the government’s business?

Believe me, if the government got out – completely and totally out – of the health care industry, the free market would soon have things sorted out. The rich would, of course, have the very best care available. That’s the way of the world, folks. But the poor would have care too, because there are enough of us to make a handsome and profitable market to insurance companies wanting to cash in on our potential. And I say more power to them.

Remember what the bumper sticker says – if you think health care is expensive (and intrusive and risky and restrictive) now … wait until it’s free.


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