Three big lies behind government-run health care
By Jason Sagall
How do you get away with legislation for $1 trillion in spending through increased taxes, cuts in Medicare, penalties on employers for not bowing to government mandates, and penalties — or even jail time — on every American for not carrying health insurance? Politicians count on three Big Lies.
Big Lie No. 1: Reality's inherent complexities make life in our modern world wrought with pitfalls, such that if the awesome power of government does not increasingly intervene to socially and economically engineer everything under the sun, chaos will ensue.
As the High Chancellor in the film V for Vendetta put it to his henchmen, fearing popular rebellion against the totalitarian dictatorship: "I want everyone to remember why they need us."
The idea of a foreboding reality paralyzes the economically ignorant and dupes them into accepting, without objective examination, the assertion that free markets made health care unaffordable, despite the fact that history shows quite the opposite.
In the 1960s government's share of spending on the nation's health care was less than 10 percent. Then the federal government instituted Medicare and Medicaid. States began regulating health insurance, mandating a myriad of coverage requirements and prohibiting competition between states. A predatory litigation system backed by politicians drove up the cost of malpractice insurance for doctors and spending on unnecessary tests and procedures for patients (further driving up patient premiums), in an effort by practitioners to protect themselves from jackpot lawsuits.
Fast-forward to the present, with government's involvement in health care spending up to 50 percent: costs continue to rise — yet people blame a free market that was destroyed long ago.
Big Lie No. 2: Growing needs give rise to new basic rights.
President Obama argues — contrary to the U.S. Constitution, which he swore to uphold — that health care should be a right, as a matter of elevating the standards in a "progressive" society. To him and the vast majority of his constituents, rights are not defined and delimited on a broad level to acknowledge the fundamental autonomous nature of human beings, but rather are devised to fulfill our evolving needs for the goods and services of others. In this view, rights serve not to liberate each individual but to bind one to another — and all to government.
This mentality construes rights as entitlements, necessitating the violation of actual rights.
The true individual rights of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness entail no obligation on others, only the reciprocal sanction to be left free. Outside of a contract, a claim of a right to the products of others is a contradiction and a moral inversion of our Constitution.
The President wants to "hold the insurance industry accountable." Who is holding government accountable for the abrogation of real rights as they invent new ones?
Big Lie No. 3: Everyone has a moral obligation to bring the "right" to health care to fruition for all citizens. Sharing the wealth and personal sacrifice are the price of civilization and the duty of every citizen — that is, from the haves to the have-nots.
Moreover, the individuals who created businesses in the health care industry, including doctor practices, various medical goods manufacturers and service providers, and of course insurance companies — because what they offer is a tremendous value to everyone — owe their products and services to everyone.
If there is one thing people are intimidated by, short of a gun to their heads, it is a moral argument. Conveniently, government intervention combines the two: dutifully sacrifice or go to jail.
But the fact that human values are created means that one person's gain or achievement is not another's loss or entitlement. Self-sacrifice is not a necessity of life, nor is it a moral ideal. The rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are properly the rights of an individual in the service of his own life, not the lives of others at his own expense.
As long as Americans buy into these big lies, politicians will continue to socialize the health care industry and sacrifice Americans for the sake of special interests. And government intrusion can be expected around every corner.
Jason Sagall is a writer for Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Newport Beach, California. Copyright © 2010 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.