The Government is Not Compassionate

Well, it looks like the Senate has its 60 votes to pass the health care bill through.  A bill so fantastic that votes had to be bought by Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Rep. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Lord knows how many others.  There were a few whose votes couldn’t be bought.  So the Democratic leaders resorted to threatening their family members unless they supported the bill.

Not only is the health care bill so stellar that Senators had to be bribed and threatened into voting for it, but it’s going to be voted on at 1 o’clock in the morning, four days before Christmas.  Some perspective for you- no one will see any benefits from this bill until 2013 (if ever), yet it’s being rushed through in the middle of the night during a time when most Americans have turned off their TVs and put down their newspapers in the hopes of having a joyful holiday season with their friends and family.  I understand doing what we have to do, but this is NOT something that couldn’t easily wait until January.

During debate on the Senate floor today, Senator Tom Coburn made some excellent points and observations on why this health care bill is not a health care reform bill, but only an unsustainable health care coverage expansion.  Sen. Coburn is one of only two practicing physicians in the Senate (the other is Senator John Barrasso), so he speaks from the unique perspective of being both a doctor and a politician.

Sen. Coburn pointed out that there are zero guarantees that taxpayers won’t finance abortions, zero prohibitions on the rationing of health care, and zero Senators required to enroll in either Medicaid  or another government run option.  The Republicans proposed amendments to disallow the use of federal funds to finance abortions or the rationing of health care, but the Democrats voted down the measure.  Let me ask you this: If funding for abortions and rationing of care aren’t part of the plan for this bill, why wouldn’t the Democrats put those amendments in?  That’s like a bookie betting on a game to get others to bet as well, without actually putting any money into the pot.  The bookie ends up making money, and I’ve read enough crime dramas to be pretty sure that that’s highly illegal, not to mention immoral.

What does this health care bill do besides use tax payer money to provide abortions and limit care to those the government deems “unworthy” due to age or lifestyle or previous health?  It creates ten new taxes, and seventy-one new government programs.  There are 1,697 times that the Secretary of Health and Human Services will write regulations, and 15,000-20,000 new government jobs will be created to carry out this legislation.  That’s funny, I thought the idea was to create more DOCTORS to treat more patients at an affordable price, but I guess a job-is-a-job-is-a-job, right?  Maybe those four out of ten doctors that said they’d consider quitting the practice of medicine if this bill passes can apply for a job with the government.

Another thing in the bill is the word shall.  It’s in there a lot- 3,607 times at last count.  What’s significant about the word shall?  It takes away your options.  The bill does not say, “You may choose to purchase health care insurance in the event that you become ill or injured,” it says, “You shall purchase health care insurance, whether you want it or not!”

That’s the individual mandate that you’ve been hearing about.  It is the first tax in United States history that will tax you for simply existing.  It’s not based on your work or purchases or decision as to whether to take the toll road or surface streets.  It’s a tax that you can choose not to pay by choosing not to breathe.  And even though I’m not a doctor, I’m fairly certain that breathing is pretty important.

That’s not right! You may be saying to yourself.  No, it isn’t right. It’s completely unconstitutional. And more likely than not, it will be completely unenforceable in court.  Which means that no one will buy health insurance until they are sick or injured. And given that the bill will require health insurance companies to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, and place limits on how much they may charge their customers, they will inevitably go bankrupt.  Leaving the only option the government option.  That, my friends, is called socialized health care, and it has never worked well.

The government is not compassionate. We already see rationing in government run health care systems like Medicare and Medicaid.  The government already comes between elderly and/or underprivileged patients and their doctors, deciding what treatments and procedures may be done, regardless of the patient’s personal history or the doctor’s recommendation.  Why on Earth would it be a good idea to expand government control of health care, when Medicare and Medicaid are inarguablly broken and on the verge of bankruptcy?

People are compassionate. Doctors are compassionate. Neighbors and family and benefactors are compassionate.  Let’s focus on incentivizing the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, creating transparency so that we can choose and purchase our own health care insurance based on value and quality, and assisting those facing tough times that need some extra help.  That’s true reform.  This bill is nothing but smoke and mirrors to lead our once liberty-loving country into a single-payer health care system.

In the words of Ronald Reagan during a 1961 radio interview:

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project, most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.

The government is not compassionate.