Why So-Called "Healthcare Reform" Is A Scandal

There is a lot of chatter in the air about why we do or do not need federal “reform” of health-care in The United States. Americans need to be clear on the substance and the priority of the relevant questions. 

With respect to opposition to federal mandates, it is true that a “public option” will pretty quickly drive private insurance providers from the market.  And “co-ops” or any other publicly subsidized option will only possibly stretch out the process, as “independent but publicly funded organizations like…oh…Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or The Federal Reserve Bank have. Everyone should be clear that they have produced disastrous social consequences. Too bad Thomas Jefferson is no longer around. Maybe the Democrats would have paid some attention to these quotes of his:

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.
The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.

(As with sub-prime mortgages processed through Freddie and Fannie.)

 I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.
If a Central Bank is ever created in America – Through inflation and deflation the “bankers” will rob the Americans.

(Our central bank, The Federal Reserve, robs Americans of real wealth through the massive printing of false money – inflation - and through the extension of artificially low-interest credit.)

 

But, we should be clear on two overriding matters:

1)  Federal intervention and commandeering of any commercial market in The United States is unconstitutional.  A) That should prohibit it out-of-hand and spare us the discussion.  But B) It does not.  The truth is that The Constitution has been ignored in America for a long time, even while propped up as a symbol and a vehicle to claim warrant for one’s preferred policy; yes even by The Supreme Court whose reason for being is to restrain government to constitutional boundaries. In fact, even The Republican Party spokespeople have long since abandoned constitutional protest to take up the pragmatic policy merits or weaknesses of the arguments propounded in a mass-culture that has either supposed that social changes have obviated constitutional restraint or has simply abandoned the pretense of constitutional constraint altogether. To whatever extent media have abandoned constitutional restraint, the people who swim in the cultural waters it generates surely have. It seems to me that we are near or beyond the need to “refresh” (as Jefferson once advised was occasionally necessary for “the tree of liberty”) the freedom once promised by The Constitution. But for now, that’s another discussion.

2)  Liberals or “progressives” who advocate for public mandates and usually a public intervention into the healthcare market have deserted the controversial and poorly polling advocacy of “healthcare reform,” for “health insurance reform,” finding a more gainful demon in insurance companies. Typically they will contend- if you don’t want a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor, you have an insurance company bureaucrat there, now. 

Unfortunately, perhaps mostly the eccentrically disposed among us make a diversion of distinguishing the signal and relevant differences between the two. Curtly and bluntly, the government is your master and your insurance company is your supplier. If you don’t like what the government does, that’s pretty much tough. Make an issue of it, and you might earn a trip to jail…  Even a 50+% majority of Americans will find it near impossible to repeal an entitlement, one established. On the other hand, you or your employer can change insurance companies if there is sufficient dissatisfaction.

Today on “This Week..,” for instance for instance, Howard Dean pursued this line of discussion. After identifying the offensive insurance company bureaucrats, Dr. Dean said he’s never seen Medicare deny a claim, but insurance companies do all the time.  Medicare is actuarially insolvent and as a private organization would have been out of business a long time ago. Answering to no market, it can run on debt like the government that feeds it. And Medicare does not negotiate price with medical suppliers (except for Part D), it DICTATES price to them.

Medical suppliers often take a loss that is made up in premiums to private customers. And whether you believe it or not, you WANT your insurance company to deny some coverage. If you believe your claim is meritorious, there is a process of appeal. If you don’t appeal, evidently it wasn’t all that important. In any case, monitoring its costs is how the insurance company minimizes premiums. Not incidentally, it’s also why a company avoids bankruptcy, which is not carried by the equally bankrupt government like Medicare is. Obama and other advocates also pitch the public option as “competition” for private insurers. There is plenty of competition in the market, especially if government opens up interstate markets. They won’t be doing that though, because making the private market more competitive diminishes the argument for a public option. Ditto with tax breaks, personal portability, and tort reform (frivolous law suit restrictions – trial lawyers are also a major Democratic Party cash cow). And how is a subsidized “entitlement” competition for a market-based and taxed offering?

Surely, Obama and most Democrats consider it a relatively small matter that a public plan will fund abortions with taxpayer dollars.  It’s true as some have said, that the bills don’t mention that.  Seriously:  they won’t be covered because the bill doesn’t mention them?!  But in short, public plan advocates are trying to buy power by selling you a pig in a poke. As I often say to antagonists:  “At least I have to pity you for taking up the challenge of defending falsehood.”  Now, get out there to Congressional town halls this month, and raise those questions those advocates don’t want to hear.  Hear are a few more Jefferson quotes for the road:

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.
Most bad government has grown out of too much government.
The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.
Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?
An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.
The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.
He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
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