Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why Conservatives Fight Nationalized Healthcare

If just providing healthcare coverage were the emphasis of the Democrats, conservatives might not have that much of an objection to the matter. In fact, if the government just provided vouchers for uninsured people to go out and purchase a private insurance plan, the bill could probably sweep through Congress with bipartisan support (never mind the fact that Democrats control both houses and that Republicans can't stop anything at the moment).

However, the wizards of smart on Capitol Hill are not content to do just that. They want government to be the sole provider of healthcare, so that instead of multiple private companies deciding whom to cover based on business decisions, we will have one provider deciding whom to cover based on political decisions. Consider a little-mentioned addendum to the existing bill, which would punish individuals for lifestyle choices like smoking or obesity. Now admittedly people who smoke or overeat will most likely end up with more health issues down the road, which will cost more to care that extent, the government is acting like business in that it is trying to reduce expenses. However, unlike government, a private insurer does not have the legal power to punish you for your lifestyle choices; they can only withhold coverage. The government position comes down to control: you must have healthcare insurance--it might be the law eventually, and you will meet the government's behavior/fitness guidedlines, or you will be punished.

Regardless of the high-sounding words surrounding government health insurance, it is not just about the insurance, it is about controlling the behavior of the recipients of said insurance. A government-run program, not forced to make a profit, can and will out-compete private insurers, thereby driving the private insurers out of business. A mandatory government program can and will punish those who do not participate in it or follow its regulations. A private citizen, faced with needing health insurance and having no choice besides the government plan, will be forced to obey all of the laws, rules, and regulations attached to that plan or face some sort of penalty. How, then, is this any different from forcing people to do what the government wants?

Freedom used to include the freedom to err or use one's freedom badly. However, regulations on smoking, fatty foods, alcohol, or whatever comes next allow government to take away your freedom "for your own good." (While it's mostly a big, dumb action movie, I highly recommend the Sylvester Stallone sci-fi film Demolition Man as an excellent example of what can happen to a society when it is regulated minutely.) Government-run health insurance is not just about making sure you've got a way to pay for doctor visits. It's about controlling your behavior, and it needs to be reined in before it's in place and nobody--not even our cigarette-smoking president--can stop it.

1 comment:

lin said...

Our system of laws is predicated upon taboos which dictate boundaries that we are not allowed to cross. These “Thou shalt not” laws and mores are modeled on the commandments of the King James version of the bible. The Obumaites are left wing totalitarians who are selfishly trying to determine how others live; therefore, they wish to enforce totems rather than taboos. Try Googling "affective education."