Assume the position…

The government seems prepared to give the American people its medicine even though we don’t want it. You’ll need to take three every year or so, and we’ll need to check in with the government from time to time to see how we’re doing. The House is within 4 votes of the amount needed to pass the Senate “health care” bill, or perhaps to just “deem” it passed with another bill the House wants to pass, containing changes which are expected to be taken up by the Senate in reconciliation, as if that cluster#%&* of a plan is going to work out… Geez these people are so desperate it’s scary.

Glenn Beck had quite a show yesterday (3-22-10: the video for this episode is gone now). I think he is right about what this health care bill is about. It’s not about improving health care. It’s about taking power and money for the government and the unions. He also accurately identified what’s going to become of the tax hikes that are part of this bill, which are ostensibly to pay for the government infrastructure that this bill will create. They’ll pay for that, but they’ll also be used to pay for whatever the government wants to spend money on, which has nothing to do with health care. The so-called health care benefits won’t come online until 2014.

Beck played a clip of the President’s interview with Bret Baier of Fox News, where the President said that the House “will either vote for health care reform, or against it,” as if it was a political rally! No, they trying to get enough votes to pass a bill that’s going to affect all of us. It’s not a mere pep rally.

I’m not quite as convinced as Beck is that this will all lead to a single-payer, government system. The Democrats need donors who owe them something. What’ll probably happen is more of a kleptocracy that is part public and part private, each scratching each other’s backs, with the government in the more dominant position.

This is part of building the Democrats’ power base. Not only will they have hospitals and insurance companies beholden to them, but they will also have the American people. Once the people become dependent on the Democrats, any Republican who dares propose a private sector replacement for this system will be washed out, because most people will find it easier for someone else to provide secure health care for them, rather than providing it for themselves. This will be true even as the health care system gets worse, as it inevitably will with this plan, because people can always be scared into believing that it was worse when the private sector was less regulated.

There’s more to it than that. We’ve gradually been herded into this position over several decades, because the federal and state governments, and indeed the trial lawyers, have taken more and more control of our health care system over that time, making it more expensive to get care. We became desperate enough to believe that the federal and state governments could provide a solution to this, when they’ve been causing the problem the whole time. Now that the coup de grace is nearly upon us we’re pulling back, realizing the mistake we’ve made, but the Democratic political leadership and its allies are going to try as hard as they can to get us to eat this “crap sandwich”. Quite a few seem eerily immune to public opinion. I can only hope there are enough congressional representatives who will listen to their constituents who are against this bill, to stand firm against the political pressure that the Democratic Party is putting upon them.

I learned last night that the Idaho legislature and its governor have just approved a bill that requires the state’s attorney general to sue the federal government in case the health care bill passes in the coming days. Thirty-seven other states are considering similar legislation. The main objection is the “individual mandate”, requiring people to either buy health insurance or pay a fine to the federal government. I object to this as well. The Constitution allows the federal government to tax my income. It does not allow it to place a fine on me for any reason, unless I have taken an action which violates federal law. My mere existence is not voluntary (on my part), and so it cannot violate federal law. How can the federal government put a fine on me if I don’t buy health insurance? I think the federal government is going to have a tough time defending that.

They got away with this in Massachusetts with Gov. Mitt Romney no less, a Republican. Perhaps this is legal by the state’s constitution, but I am sure the federal constitution does not allow the federal government to put this requirement on anybody.

Edit 3-22-10: I don’t consider the mandate constitutional, but I learned tonight that the mandate really takes the form of an extra tax that’s tacked on (2.8% or $2,500, whichever is larger) to your income tax if you don’t have a government-approved health plan. So it’s not a fee. Given this I anticipate that the state AGs are going to have a tough time making the case, because the government does have broad authority in the Constitution to tax income.

Some people try to rationalize the mandate, saying that people are required to buy auto insurance. Well for one, the penalties are different. If I don’t have auto insurance and I’m stopped, I will be fined, not taxed. The analogy oversimplifies the issue. For one, there’s more leeway in states to put requirements on people. They can be added to the state’s constitution. Now, the federal constitution could be altered as well to allow this mandate, but no such action is being taken up by the federal government or the states. Secondly, people don’t have to drive cars. If I don’t drive a car, no law in any state requires me to buy auto insurance. Driving a car is a voluntary act. I think it can be reasonably argued that if one drives a car, the state I live in can require me to either buy insurance or prove that I am self-insured. The same cannot be said of my existence.

I am heartened that at least one state, maybe more, will be holding the federal government accountable, to “tie it down by the chains of the Constitution”, as Jefferson said. I hope they win, though now I’m not so sure that they will.

My other concern is that our health care system will become as bad as those in socialist countries, even though private insurance is ostensibly left intact in this plan. I believe the New England Journal of Medicine when it predicts that 30% of doctors will leave the profession if this bill passes. This means in the future people are going to have to wait to see a doctor, and wait for a critical test or operation. From what I’ve seen, many Democrats are ignorant enough to believe that there is more than enough capacity for all of the people who need care. It’s just the greedy insurance companies who are keeping them from accessing it. It makes absolutely no sense, but that’s what they believe. Scary, isn’t it? There would be enough capacity for those who need care if health care was allowed to function as a relatively free market, but this is not the case. And with private insurance companies and private hospitals still in existence, they’ll become the whipping boys when the calamity comes. Democrats, and some Republicans, won’t look at the government as the problem. When it comes to government’s control over a private industry, they never have. But perhaps now that the government’s actions have gotten the American people’s attention we’ll be better educated about what the problem actually is, so that we won’t buy into their calls for more government control.

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