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Whom not to trust

Do not put your trust in princes, nor in the son of man in whom there is no salvation. –Ps 146.3

I watched Obama’s victory statement at the securing of the winning 60th Senate vote for his healthcare reform initiative. His performance did not disappoint. Virtually every statement he made concerning the bill was a lie.

We were promised universal coverage, at reasonable premiums, and we even were assured that the bill would reduce the national deficit. But this bill in reality is a artesian work of sleight-of-hand, and what Obama is promising is categorically impossible.

One cannot create goods and services out of nothing. Yes, there are efficiencies that can be realized over our present system, but this bill isn’t about those efficiencies, it’s about forcing the medical system to make bricks without supplying it the necessary straw. Either fewer bricks will be made (rationing), or the medical industry will be put to forced labor. Taking money and initiative out of the system will of necessity stifle creativity, bring research to a screaming halt and lower the standard of treatment.

All medical decisions now will essentially be funneled through the federal government. We already have one example, in which cosmetic surgeons, seeing their livelihood on the line, lobbied hard for Botox treatments to be covered in the bill. Thus it will be, that each special interest will be pitted against all others for inclusion. Merely being included for coverage will not be enough. Each lobbyist will ply congress for the largest possible piece of the government pie. And the weapons of that warfare will indeed be carnal: bribes, kickbacks and influence peddling.

Likewise, the healthcare bill has become the new theater of the abortion wars. Abortion, we are assured, will not be funded with tax dollars in the bill. But money is fungible. All dollars coming into the program, no matter the source, will merge with others and will be used where they are needed. Simply put, the American taxpayer’s money will be used for abortions, regardless of the abstract wording of some clause in the bill.

Each time this bill is up for amendment or renewal, these battles for coverage, from Botox to abortion, will be fought anew in congress. Meanwhile, the courts will see absolutely no end to disputes over bureaucratic policy, and will be making medical decisions from the bench. We can be sure that the powerful and connected will win the day. In a very real way, a major portion of our lives has just been turned over to the tender mercies of legislators, judges and lawyers.

This is a picture of enslavement, which is really all that statists can possibly deliver. But the amazing thing is, each and every time the statists impose bondage, they do so in the name of freedom.

They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. -2 Pe 2.19

Worst of all, the people have bought the lie. Many are waking up now, as the declining popularity of this bill shows, but much of the damage is already done.

The right path to change

The existing healthcare situation, with spiraling costs and premiums, is indeed untenable. There is a way out, but it does not entail empowering government. It instead involves some bold but simple and commonsense steps that restore the free market and level the playing field, and which comprise true reform:

  • Eliminate the employer healthcare tax exemption. This has funneled trillions of dollars into health insurance, which is a terribly inefficient way to procure healthcare. Insurance should be for catastrophic events, and people should pay for their own routine care. This would immediately put people, in conjunction with their doctors, in charge of their own healthcare decisions, and eliminate the middleman.
  • Eliminate restrictions on competition among insurers. Stop protecting politically connected insurers from outside competition, in violation of the interstate commerce provision of the Constitution.
  • Tort reform. This was the one element of healthcare reform that had the most pubic support, but Obama and the ruling Democrat Party wouldn’t touch it because they are in bed with the Trial Lawyers Association. Irrational judgments and junk science, of the type that John Edwards was famous for, are costing doctors high premiums, and in some cases their practices, and must be reigned in.
  • FDA reform. The largest federal agency is moribund and corrupt. Vital new technologies are being turned away as bureaucrats protect their careers and special interests place monetary interests over the public health. Require FDA deliberations to be made public.
  • Medical reform. There are bad doctors hurting people and milking the system, and they need to stop being protected. Get them out of the system.
  • Creative solutions such as medical savings accounts.

You can see that the gist of these provisions is to get the government, and its skewing of the market, as much out of healthcare as possible.

No system is perfect, and you may wonder what will happen to people who fall through the cracks. The answer is that the efficiencies and effectiveness that freeing up the healthcare market brings also will free individuals and organizations to perform charitable medical work.

A historical precedent

The Israelites wanted a king, as the other nations had. God warned them that they were bringing woe upon themselves, but gave them their desire. It didn’t take long for corruption to set in. Aside from the reigns of a relatively few good kings, the history of Israel became a sad melodrama of corruption and failure, and eventual national collapse.

As we increasingly centralize control over every aspect of our lives, we can expect no different, as history repeats itself. Will the people wake up before it’s too late?

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