26 February 2010

Well Said

"If eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, incessant distractions are the way that politicians take away our freedoms, in order to enhance their own power and longevity in office. ... Few distractions have had such a long and impressive political track record as getting people to resent and, if necessary, hate other people. The most politically effective totalitarian systems have gotten people to give up their own freedom in order to vent their resentment or hatred at other people.... We have not yet reached these levels of hostility, but those who are taking away our freedoms, bit by bit, on the installment plan, have been incessantly supplying us with people to resent. One of the most audacious attempts to take away our freedom to live our lives as we see fit has been the so-called 'health care reform' bills that were being rushed through Congress before either the public or the members of Congress themselves had a chance to discover all that was in it. For this, we were taught to resent doctors, insurance companies and even people with 'Cadillac health insurance plans,' who were to be singled out for special taxes. Meanwhile, our freedom to make our own medical decisions -- on which life and death can depend -- was to be quietly taken from us and transferred to our betters in Washington. ... The more they can get us all to resent those they designate, the more they can distract us from their increasing control of our own lives -- but only if we sell our freedom cheap."
--economist Thomas Sowell


Silke said...

While I agree it’s wrong to demonize people and organizations in pursuit of a political goal or policy change I disagree that health care reform is about taking away a person’s freedom to make medical decisions. On the contrary, health care reform would give access to health care for 30 million more people who wouldn’t otherwise have it. While the bill is certainly imperfect I think some health care is better than no health care at all just as I think some reasonable consumer protections for those who already have health care through their employers is also better than no consumer protections at all.

SSG_E said...

The plan being pushed by the dems is not healthcare reform. It has never been about healthcare reform. This proposal is a bill to expand govt. It is, in part, a payoff to SEIU and other special interest groups (including big pharma and some insurance companies. The unions need the govt to bail them out of the pension and healthcare hole they dug for themselves. That is what this has always been about. If this was about healthcare reform then why not work with republicans to pass incremental reforms one at a time? Why not do this in smaller bills, including some geared toward coverage and consumer protections? Answer: because this is not about healthcare. It is about power and control. These people want to pass a sweeping overhaul and plant the big govt footprint into all of our lives. This proposal is the largest entitlement program since medicare was passed 40 yrs ago (by CNN's admission, not just mine). We see the mess that medicare is in. This reform package will be no different. The federal govt is not the solution to this problem. The federal govt has created this problem.

Silke said...

SSG E, how is the current reform being proposed going to take away a person’s freedom to make medical decisions? Especially to the 30 million who don’t have health insurance now but would get it under the Senate bill. The only medical decisions these people have the freedom to make is to decide how long to wait until they go to the emergency room. We all end up paying for it anyway but by then it is far more expensive and less effective.

I share your concerns about paying for another entitlement program but according to the CBO the legislation cuts the deficit by $130 billion in the first 10 years, and $650 billion in the second.

SSG_E said...

The 30 million "uninsured" includes about 10 million illegal aliens. It also includes many people that have chosen not to purchase healthcare. Many more could afford it, but instead spend their money on cell phones and cable TV. Another large segment of that group qualify for existing govt programs, at either the state or federal level, but for some reason chose not to participate. SO the fact is there is not 30 million poor uninsured people dying to get healthcare reform passed. If there was there would be substantial support for this bill. Clearly there is not. The reform proposals contain an individual mandate. That is the number one way this proposal is trying to strip freedom away from Americans. The more pressing concern is the precedent it would set. The individual mandate is unconstitutional. If it is somehow enacted anyway, it would forever alter the relationship between citizens and their govt. It would mean that the federal govt is no longer a govt of limited power, instead is would be a govt of omnipotent power. Changes need to be made, but expanding the size and power of the govt is not the change we need. It would be a regression of American healthcare and the principles our govt was supposed to adhere to.

Silke said...

SSG E said: The reform proposals contain an individual mandate. That is the number one way this proposal is trying to strip freedom away from Americans.

That’s not the question I asked. I asked how you could say “the current reform being proposed would take away a person’s freedom to make medical decisions.” The truth is you can’t make any medical decisions unless you have health insurance to begin with. Now you’re talking about eliminating Medicare and Medicaid all together – talk about taking away a person’s ability to make medical decisions.

I do see your point about the individual mandate but that is a different issue.

SSG_E said...

This reform proposal is a recipe for disaster. It will not lower costs anyway, so I do not see why people are still pushing for it. It has been exposed as the big govt power grab and tax hike that it is. Name one industry that the govt regulates in which regulation has lowered costs. I will answer for you; There are NONE. More govt regulation will increase health insurance costs and limit the availability. Let's pretend for a moment that the 30 million uninsured number is real. How are we going to dump 30 million people into a healthcare system without adding more doctors and nurses? This will lead to two things: 1) costs will increase. Demand will go up and so therefore will the cost of healthcare. It is a simply law of economics as sure and true as the laws of physics. Just because Obama is 'the one' it does not allow him to alter fundamental laws of nature or economics. 2) With more people in the system, and fewer doctors as medical practitioners will likely flee medicine because of the increased bureaucratic nightmare, there will be shortages. There will be too few doctors and too many patients. This will inevitably lead to rationing. So even if we accept the president's premise that this reform is good because it covers 30 million uninsured, it is clear that we create a bigger crisis in the future. Once again I would ask B.O. what's the rush? The bulk of the legislation would not take effect until 2013 (convienently after an Obama reelection bid). If it is so vital and Obama is so sure that this is the greatest idea ever, why not make it take effect sooner? Or, why not hammer out a more thoughtful reform bill and take our time? When the salesman says "hurry, you have to buy it now!" that is when we need to stop and look a little closer. Something smells rotten in this healthcare bill and I do not trust Obama, nor any other politicians with increased govt power over healthcare. I am for reform, but I want reform that ensures maximum liberty.

Now the problem is we have fundamentally different philosophies here. Other than people with serious problems and medical conditions, the vast majority of your 30 million uninsured have already made their decision regarding healthcare. They chose not to buy insurance. They chose not to have healthcare coverage. Some of them consciously decided they didn't need it. Others chose cell phones and big screen TV's over health coverage. Others are uninsured as a result of the decisions they made in their life. Maybe they have a crappy job and no insurance because they dropped out of school and decided to do drugs. It is not the role of govt to legislate against stupidity or laziness or lack of initiative. People are free to buy healthcare coverage. If they can't afford it but want it, they need to make sacrifices and work harder. The uninsured are not driving up medical costs. They are part of the problem, but govt is not the answer to that problem. The biggest factors in rising h/c costs are defensive medicine practiced by doctors, and govt intrusion into the h/c market. Prices are indexed against what the govt says something should cost. Whatever medicare says something costs is directly impacting the prices in the market. The solution here is less govt, and more freedom. We can still help the truly sick and crippled who cannot work to provide for themselves. It needs to come from the community and local govt primarliy. I am not opposed to some 'no strings attached' federal funding for this. If the states want to have some kind of universal h/c reform idea then let them make that case. The federal govt has no business in this matter and should never have intruded. Had the feds stayed the hell out of h/c it would be more affordable today. We might even still have those small town doctors making house calls like they did in the 1950's when seeing a doctor was still relatively cheap and easy.