Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Step Closer to Socialized Medicine

So late last night the House Democrats managed to pass their version of nationalized health care in a 220-215 vote--a squeaker, but still a win. I cannot emphasize enough what a bad idea this is. This particular bill, in any case. There are ways to ensure that every American and legal immigrant has access to health care. Vouchers--payouts, coupons, checks, call 'em what you will--would be easy and much cheaper. And the legislation would be very short, as it would only require proof of no insurance, a dedicated source of funding, and a sunset clause for individuals who manage to get a job or their own insurance. You do NOT need additional taxes on new medical devices. You do NOT need penalties, fines, or jail time for people who do not WANT insurance. You do not need business-killing regulations covering illegal immigrants, when hospitals nationwide have already closed their doors because they were already compassionately covering people without insurance. You do not need this government "guaranteeing" supposedly low-cost insurance. They can't do it. This is the same government that...

The point is that NOTHING the government has done has been made cheaper, and in fact is very often made more expensive just by its presence in the economy. In the name of doing something for one segment of the public, our government will take away the freedom of others. Note again that if this bill passes, you will be arrested and thrown into prison if you do not have health insurance.

There are, in fact, people who deliberately choose not to have health insurance but have enough money to pay doctors directly as they go. Others are young and stupid and think they don't need it. Others would rather spend money on cable TV or nights at the bar. So if someone does not have health insurance by choice, it's none of the government's business.

It's time to rethink a government policy--led by our president and championed by his allies in Congress--that says government has the right to force you to do something for your own good. Now I know someone will say, "Yeah, but government forces you not to commit murder, steal, etc." Not the same at all. We are talking about optional activities. Items that fall under the umbrella of freedom and things not in the Constitution. Freedom used to connote the freedom to use it badly. Consider the idjits who win Lotto and go broke buying multiple cars and houses. They might be stupid, but they've got the money and they're free to use it as they see fit if it doesn't harm anyone.

If government can dictate that everyone gets health coverage, they can tell you that you must live your life in a prescribed "healthy" manner to reduce their costs. "What's the difference between that and businesses?" someone might ask. It's really simple, and this is why I trust businesses infinitely more than governments: a private insurance firm will give you a discount for healthy living (for example, my insurance company reimburses my health club membership up to $150 a year). If government is telling you to live healthier to be elligible for insurance and you don't, they throw you in prison. Can I make this any clearer? You do not want the government to have this much power over you, even in the name of "doing something for you."

And again, this WILL cost more. So Washington will raise taxes to pay for this. Except that raising taxes takes more money out of the economy that otherwise would be used for private investment and spending. You might recall that there's a recession on--10.2% unemployment and rising. If companies have to pay for part of this healthcare mandate by the employee, it makes sense for them to have a few employees as possible. Therefore, they will NOT hire more people and unemployment will stay high or increase. This is not going to help the broader economy, it will hurt very badly.

Call your senators and write them. Stop this. Please. I intend to. Repeatedly.

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