We lost a lot yesterday, when healthcare “reform” was passed by our House of Representatives.
This was a severe loss for liberty and individual freedom, for you are no longer free to choose your healthcare and will inevitably loose additional freedoms in coming years as our political class “fixes” their current legislative disaster.
This was a significant loss for the economy, since government regulation is inevitably a monkey wrench in the engine of prosperity. U.S. healthcare was the envy of the world, a major contributor to our technological leadership comprising 17% of our economy.
This was a loss for the old and sick, since it will inevitably lead to misallocation of resources and over consumption of “free” healthcare, with consequent rationing. In the not so distant future, government sponsored experts will be asked to decide who shall live (or at least receive treatment) and who shall die.
This was a loss for the young and healthy, since they will be required to pay for health insurance they do not want or need, one of the scams required to pay for the government’s largess.
It is hardly worth mentioning that this was a big loss for the rich, who are being asked to foot the bill that lavish union health funds refused to pay. The rich are always asked to pay lately and one wonders whether our politicians really understand whether this goose that lays their golden eggs may be near exhaustion.
Surprisingly, this was probably a loss for the uninsured, who currently get their care mostly from hospital emergency rooms, which are usually free for those who truly cannot afford care. They will now have to endure the worse horrors of a government program. Ask yourself whether you would prefer to hang out in a hospital waiting room or a government housing project? Both are unpleasant, but government facilities of any sort are usually the worst option.
This was a loss for honesty and transparency in government. The process used to pass this legislation was more secretive and heavy handed than any in memory and was certainly an all time low for such a critically important issue. The process was the polar opposite of Mr. Obama’s promises and what I think people were voting for last election. Just four representatives too many voted “yes”, though it seems that a corrupt Washington system would have managed to buy or bully sufficient votes no matter what. It was probably a close vote only because close was all Obama and Pelosi needed.
This was a loss for political integrity. I fear Federal healthcare regulation is mostly a Trojan horse for future political corruption, rather than being the instrument of healthcare justice its supporters claim. If all goes well for the Democrats, the government will eventually herd a massive block of healthcare workers into becoming government employees, in fact or spirit. It is difficult to vote against a politician who signs your pay check. Nationalizing 17% the economy potentially converts politicians into dictators. We have not nationalized healthcare yet, but if Democrats manage to make private healthcare dysfunctional enough through ill advised regulation, the government will then have a wonderful argument for further “fixes” that go all the way. Never forget that President Obama’s early advocacy and core political base is the SEIU, America’s fastest growing union which primarily represents healthcare and government workers. Obamacare reeks of potential corruption and concealed agendas.
This was also a loss for religion, and though that does not personally bother me as much as other issues, I mention it for those who do care. In a very real way, the nanny state is the modern heir to fascism, where the state and its leaders seek to replace religion in the hearts and minds of their faithful. Liberal progressives are fighting for a powerful welfare state with all the fervor and dirty tricks of a religious war. That is because for them it is a religious war. The fascist state threatens to become the religion of many who no longer believe much in God, the religion of a post-religious age. Many religious citizens are strongly against abortion, which inevitably must be condoned by government dominated healthcare, Obama’s mostly meaningless eleventh-hour executive order not withstanding. Further, the spectacle of congress working so hard over the weekend, horse trading votes on the Jewish Sabbath and then voting on the most significant legislation of at least a generation on Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, must strike religious faithful with at least some fear and disgust. You would think that politicians would have been a bit more politically sensitive than to work so visibly on God’s day of rest.
This was even a loss for democracy, since Congress just forced through legislation clearly opposed by most Americans. Voter opinion has shifted since Obama’s election swept Democrats into large congressional majorities. Recent opinion polls have shown that a growing majority of Americans oppose this legislation and that twice as many strongly oppose it compared to those strongly in favor. Even highly liberal voters in Massachusetts who have been experiencing their own personal beta-test version of Obamacare for the last few years and who were replacing the late Senator Kennedy, godfather of all government healthcare advocates, rose up to elect an obscure candidate mostly because he promised to stop the pending federal legislation. Actually, I don’t think voter opinion shifted. People merely woke up to the reality of what Democrats wanted to do. They just woke up a bit too late. Though not me, since my primary reason for supporting Republicans over the past decade has been to avoid this very disaster. In any case, our instruments of democracy wantonly ignored the will of the American people.
This is where I should look at the bright side and explain how we can overcome this debacle. But the truth is we cannot overcome it for at least three years, given Obama’s veto power. Democrats believe it will be too late by then and I fear they may be correct. Dismantling charity is tough because it sounds callous. I only ask that you remember yesterday. Make a note in your calendar for next November and vote against the Congressional agents of this tyranny. Remember that two wrongs do not make a right when future healthcare problems seem to require future healthcare fixes. And keep anger alive for three more years to defeat a president who would veto attempts to undo the wrongs of yesterday.
Note: The Humble Libertarian, an excellent source of libertarian news and analysis, kindly referenced this article in their own piece on the healthcare fight. Some of my ideas may be bit unpopular even with THL, but check them out.