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July 9, 2012

Bad Medicine

Second-guessing Chief Justice Roberts’ decision on the Obamacare mandate has become a cottage industry; from scathing political cartoons to breathless pundits railing against Roberts, everyone has an opinion. I have mine, but, at the risk of being redundant, again, I’ll spare you. Suffice it to say, for better or worse, the ruling has set the stage for the ultimate showdown: SCOTUS upheld the law [albeit, putting a fence around the Commerce Clause], so the future of Obamacare now rests squarely with the Congress. What comes next is most important in this healthcare circus; looking back is not going to win the future.

The future of this un-Constitutional, overreaching law depends on what happens in the voting booth this fall. First, Republicans will need to gain a majority in the Senate. With a number of retiring Democrats, that is a possibility. Second, Republicans must maintain their majority in the House which is also, pretty likely. Finally, if you imagine Romney winning in November (I’m not willing to put any money on this just yet), we’re primed and ready to repeal PPACA.

Ahhh, but not so fast. Can Romney win on a pledge to repeal the law without offering up a viable alternative? Do Republicans have a plan of their own that 1) doesn’t involve 20+ new taxes; 2) doesn’t create umpteen new government agencies; 3) doesn’t erode the quality of care; and 4) doesn’t involve more intrusive government and less liberty? Anybody seen it yet? If it does exist, why aren’t the campaign and Party PR machines shouting it from the rooftops and on every media channel available? While I plan to vote for ABO (anybody but Obama), the candidate or party proposing rational legislative alternatives to socialized healthcare has a better chance of getting my vote. If you are going to repeal it you have to replace it. Show me the plan!

I must admit there are some good and needed elements in the current law: no lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits and no exclusion for pre-existing conditions are two solid ideas whose time has come. However, having healthcare managed by an already bloated federal bureaucracy is not the recipe for success. If you doubt me, look no further than the EPA, Department of Energy, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Education Department as “stellar examples” of government effectiveness and efficiency.

I marvel at comments I’ve read on Facebook and seen in news reports where people state that free healthcare is a right! First of all, people, it is not going to be free; nothing is free. You will pay for it some way, somehow. Chances are your paychecks will be noticeably smaller. Secondly, I have yet to find where in the Constitution that the “right to government healthcare” is protected.

Some of the more odious and ill-informed comments that I hear are people’s pleas to “just give it a chance.” Sure, let the government go on a wild hiring spree to staff up the ballooning bureaucracy while pilfering more of our hard-earned dollars. Allow the proliferation of alphabet soup agencies to accelerate at warp speed and before long, there’ll be an entrenched healthcare machine that will never go away, regardless of whether or not it functions efficiently. Remember this ObamaScare flowchart created to depict the plethora of new agencies, review boards and panels? Give it a chance? Get real, people! The bill is 2700 pages long and contains an uncountable number of new agencies and panels. A report out this past week indicates some 13,000 pages of new regulations have already been written and they aren’t done yet! No thanks, nothing screams “bad medicine” like government-run healthcare.

Consider also there will be fewer doctors and longer wait times for care. People who would normally forego a doctor visit because of co-pays or tight finances, will now be persuaded to make that visit. The end result is that the system will become overburdened, further lengthening wait times. If you happen to be older than some arbitrarily-established age (say 75, for the sake of argument), you might not get that arterial stent you need. A panel of bureauc-rats may determine you are too old and unproductive to have your life prolonged and your quality of life enhanced.

Should not the care of our bodies be our choice? Isn’t that the essence of individual liberty? If the so-called right to privacy in Roe v. Wade secures a woman’s “right” to an abortion, is it not logical to assume the same “right” undergirds how one cares for one’s self in general? Something so deeply personal and individual as caring for ourselves simply should not be the government’s business to mandate, manipulate or otherwise control. The tortured logic of the recent SCOTUS ruling makes it clear that while the government cannot mandate you buy insurance from a private concern, it can “tax” you if you don’t. Either way you cut it, the government is taking away your choices about how to live and care for yourself. This truly is the nanny state gone wild. When we passively cede that control to the government, we abdicate freedom and we take one more step down the slippery slope to socialism. Let’s not give this bad medicine a toehold in the American way of life.

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