Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Somebody get me a doctor

Back in December I explained what I was looking for in health care reform.  To review:
allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, remove expensive mandates, give the same tax breaks to individuals that businesses get and decouple insurance from your place of employment.
I am only speculating here, but I imagine that none of my preferred provisions are going to be found within the thousands of pages of this bill, but, as Nancy Pelosi promised, now that the health care bill is passed, we can find out what is in the dang thing.

Regardless of what specifics are in this bill, I doubt I'll be pleased with it.  (Again, mere speculation).  But from a big-picture perspective, this bill frightens the hell out of me because it allows another tentacle of government wrap around our lives.  The saying goes that there are two things certain in life:  death and taxes.  Well, I'd like to propose one more certainty:  the expansion of government.

Writing out of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Barton Hinkle explains "more better" what I can't.
The passage of health care reform -- with its unprecedented individual mandate, a form of economic conscription that greatly extends the reach of the federal leviathan's tentacles -- is being hailed as historic. Which it is. But then so was Pearl Harbor. So while many Americans are greeting passage with glee, others find themselves in sympathy with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
"To be governed," Proudhon wrote, "is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled . . . by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed . . . .It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited . . . then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused . . . and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality."
Those who do not yet feel as Proudhon did should wait. Even before the gargantuan bill was passed, progressives were insisting it fell short -- it is "not the end of health reform," as Sen. Tom Harkin said some weeks ago, but merely "the beginning." When this government intervention fails to achieve the stated aims, liberals will blithely and obtusely insist the cure is yet more government intervention. They are like the carpenter who complains he has cut a board three times and it's still too short.
Meanwhile, the increased federal involvement in health care will become a pretext for increased federal involvement in -- well, everything. The reasoning will be that individual health affects health care, which is now a federal enterprise. And everything can be said, with more or less sophistry, to affect individual health. So "managing" the "system" will become the all-purpose excuse for dictating the manner in which you live your life. Witness the campaign against obesity: Because obesity causes health problems, and because the government spends money to treat those problems, you should put down that doughtnut, ma'am or sir. And hit the Stairmaster while you're at it.
Throughout the Bush years, progressives howled as the administration exploited a national-security crisis to expand executive power, while conservatives egged the administration on. Yet neither paused long to note that Bush did not even try to roll back expansions of federal power undertaken in the name of social policy. To the contrary, the administration accelerated the process with the Medicare prescription-drug benefit and the No Child Left Behind Act.
During the past year President Obama has dashed progressives' naIve hopes that he would roll back authority claimed in the War on Terror. He has done quite the opposite -- supporting extension of controversial Patriot Act provisions; fighting in court for warrantless wiretapping; and adopting wholesale Bush's policies on indefinite detention without trial, rendition to torture abroad, military commissions, and the state-secrets privilege.
Yet Obama also has pushed relentlessly for expansions of social welfare and the regulatory state. Every administration expands power where it wishes, but no authority is ever repealed. And so the ratchet tightens. Click, click, click . . .
[Emphasis mine]

Mr. Hinkle is exactly right about the upcoming "health care" mission creep.  As he points out, people are already calling for more extensive measures be taken with regard to health care,even though the President's signature is barely even dry on the one we already have.  And, it should be noted that even before this bill passed, the nanny-staters within the government were actively seeking to control the littlest aspects of our lives.

To borrow from Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the cigarettes and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a smoker.
Then they came for the trans-fat and I didn't speak up because the alternative tasted nearly the same.
Then they came for the salt and I didn't speak up because I prefer pepper.
Then they came for the fat kids and I didn't speak up because I'm not a kid.
Then they came for me and my delicious high-fructose corn syrup and no one was left to speak up.

Are the elimination of cigaretts, trans-fat, salt, and high-fructose corn syrup going to result in the collapse of our union?  Doubtful.  But this constant chipping away of individual rights and freedoms are the baby steps toward tyranny.  When the philosopher kings in our central planning kingdom of Washington, D.C., get to decide something as small as what the citizenry are allowed to ingest, there really is nothing they can't decide for us.  The fact of the matter is that the Nanny State is quickly turning into the Daddy State.  

And now these bureaucrats have even more leverage against the citizenry because they are now allowed to demand, mandate, and coerce the citizenry about an item they MUST purchase.  From what I've read, there is no opting out of this program.

F.A. Hayek said it best when he talked of central planners.
The power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbour and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less that which the smallest functionaire possess who wield the coercive power of the state, and on whose discretion it depends whether and how I am able to be allowed to live or work.
And now that power gap has grown with the passage of this health care bill, and will continue to grow exponentially over the coming years.  There is no hope to stop this growth, only hope that one day it might be contained.  And that, to me, is the scariest part of this bill.
SONG:  "Somebody Get Me a Doctor" by Van Halen

PROUD OF:  the fact that I finished my first book of 2010.  I will work on getting a review up this week.

LOOKING FORWARD TO:  seeing O.A.R. in concert this July in Council Bluffs.  They announced their summer tour on Facebook, and I couldn't be happier that they are returning to the Westfair Ampetheater this July.  It is the same venue that my sister and I saw them last year, and I'm excited to see them once again.

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