Ripping health care out of your own hands
By Jason Sagall
The federal government's Web site HealthCare.gov extols the trillion-dollar Patient Protection and (anything but) Affordable Care Act as only government propaganda can. It offers boldface contradictions and evasions in defiance of one's very sanity. Its apparent purpose is to appeal to the worst in people, inviting them to cling to an entitlement mentality and pretend that part of government's job is to save them from the necessity of dealing with reality.
At the top of every page of the site, following the title "HealthCare.gov," is the slogan "Take health care into your own hands."
That awesome contradiction could only be outdone by a federal agent knocking on your door, saying, "I'm from the government, and I'm here to provide you with self-determination."
Are the majority of Americans so ignorant or deluded that they will not recognize the incompatibility between a mandatory government-run system and the self-empowering idea of taking the initiative to pursue their own individual course -- which, if the latter is to have any meaning, presupposes a self- governing, free-market system?
The Obama Administration apparently thinks so.
While the government's use of that slogan is a shameless attempt to deny the fundamental disparity in government bureaucracy as the path to freedom, HealthCare.gov devotes a section to what the government perceives as disparities, on the page titled Health Disparities and the Affordable Care Act.
The rhetoric begins, "Not all Americans have equal access to health care -- or similar health care outcomes." That is: access -- and outcomes, too -- are different from person to person!
That is a fact. But what of it?
Any dissimilarity between individuals in their ability (or inability) to benefit from doctors, treatments, medical facilities or insurance, and have the same outcomes, no less, constitutes a "disparity" -- which is understood to be, by equivocation, an injustice.
Conspicuously absent from the mentioned disparities are the root causes -- an entire context of one's lifelong moral choices, along with any genetic predispositions, that gave rise to one's current state of health. That multidimensional context inherent in life is swept away, and in its place is the assertion of need.
Need knows no bounds for those who let themselves be ruled by the desire to have the life-giving values produced by others handed over, unearned.
In situations of misfortune, others generally have always been charitable and given voluntarily. However, no misfortune (notwithstanding cases of forced injury) grants one the right to force others, neither by gun nor government mandate, to fulfill one's needs.
But under the guise of fighting injustice, the agenda to eliminate need wholesale provides a rationalization for the only means of pursuing that end: the unjust violation of the natural and constitutional rights of an individual to produce, trade and consume free of coercion.
When differences in abilities, achievements, earnings, circumstances (lucky or unlucky) or outcomes are couched as disparities, the entitlement-minded are invited to assert their need, declare new "rights" and make new demands.
When the fulfilling of need is demanded with moral indignation, duty-minded people are intimidated into sacrificing endlessly to the loudest claims. And the loudest proliferators of need are politicians looking to maintain their spoils system.
Before a future administration takes the next logical step -- a fully nationalized single-payer health system, Americans should declare one need and right paramount: to set their own terms with each other in a marketplace free of government meddling that stifles competition and drives up costs.
Every poll points to a disparity between the presumption of the current administration that Americans will accept the new health care bill and the fortitude of many Americans who hold the right to be a self-governing people.
That disparity, if great enough, will save this country.
Jason Sagall is an analyst with Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Newport Beach, California. Copyright © 2010 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.