Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care: Why Not?

A lot of my fellow Conservatives are out stating many strong reasons why healthcare reform should not have been passed, and why it's detrimental to our society. The largest of these has been the fiscal argument; that we simply can't afford this bill. And they are absolutely right, of course. This bill, combined with the rest of the insane government spending under this administration, is going to lead to inflation, destroy the currency and bankrupt your children. So, yes, this reasoning alone is more than enough to be vehemently against healthcare reform.

However, there's an even more fundamental reason to be against it. That is; it's not within the federal government's authority, per the Constitution. Thankfully, due to Republican obstructionism and moderate democratic opposition, this bill is not a full-blown takeover of healthcare at this juncture. Concessions had to be made in order to get it passed. But it is a definite step in that direction.

Government takeover of healthcare is in fact an illegitimate seizure of your liberty. Some people, perhaps, are willing to give up some bits and pieces of liberty for what they feel is security. The problem is, even if you do feel that way, there's a slippery slope involved. As your freedom and liberty slips away piece by piece eventually they're going to be taking over areas that you aren't comfortable with. Or, worse still, we become so accustomed to our liberty being eroded we become numb to it and drift along into 'utopia', in the process ceasing to be individuals at all, instead becoming drones under a tyrannical government. That might come off a bit melodramatic, but you can see some pretty dramatic changes in our society happening before our eyes already.

Further, even if a majority of the country did feel that way (that they'd give up some liberty for some 'security'), it wouldn't matter. The Constitution controls over the whims of the people. And the Constitution is a document of limited enumerated powers for the federal government. Healthcare is not one of those powers, and thus is not within the jurisdiction of the federal government. Consult the 10th amendment. Of course this fact has been obscured by rhetoric and decades of judicial misinterpretation, but it's right there, in black and white. Plain as day.

Republicans who echo Democratic rhetoric by talking about things like "controlling costs", and "making healthcare affordable" do a disservice to conservative principles. Aside from protecting against fraud, and perhaps from reforming the legal system so that frivolous lawsuits aren't as prevalent, government has no business attempting to "control costs" of anything, healthcare included. The costs are the costs. I suppose it's understandable that politicians have to employ such rhetoric so as not to come off heartless, but as non-politicians it's important for us to not fall into these trappings and adopt the rhetoric of the left and use it to frame the debate. No we don't want to control costs. Yes, I'm fine with that. No that doesn't make me heartless. Doctors charge what they need to charge, patients pay what they can, and when someone can't afford it we as family, and communities step in to fill that void, either directly or by setting up organizations to address the matter. There is nothing unreasonable or unworkable about the idea of self-responsibility extending to healthcare. To the extent reforms in our current system need to happen they need to happen in that direction, rather than this, the opposite direction.

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