By Richard E. Ralston
Does American history move in only one direction--toward government domination of every detail of our daily lives? Did we reach a high- water mark of government power when ObamaCare was signed into law? Or was that just the crest of a wave that will sweep away the few remaining decisions we can still make about the things that are most important to us? The answer may begin to take form this year.
Do we want our physicians to be able to use their own best judgment about our care? Or shall we watch them suspend that judgment knowing their insurance reimbursements will be cut if they do not follow government protocols and "best practices"? Should we just sit back and watch the last of our freedoms waste away, or should we do something?
Our first step must be to redeem the concept of reform. In the last century, those who have advocated reform have usually defined it as more government employees, more regulations, more agencies, more spending, more taxes, more special pay-offs to the clients of political spoils systems, and more powers for government. Failures resulting from such "reform" have always been followed by calls for more government authority, spending and power.
The Federal Reserve Bank was created nearly a century ago to end recessions, depressions, unemployment and inflation. As it has failed in all of these tasks, its authority and power have grown. Now we have calls for more financial "reform" to increase its powers and those of a host of other agencies. Government creations like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac destroyed the home mortgage market and are encouraged to intervene more. Meanwhile, the rapidly diminishing remnants of a free market take the blame.
Medicare and Medicaid have an astonishingly consistent track record of wildly exceeding spending projections and failing to fund tens of trillions of dollars in liabilities. Fraud is uncontrolled. Yet the President and Congress have successfully used this disaster as the basis for assuming control of the remainder of private insurance. (Whatever you think of your insurance company, it has to find the income to pay medical bills. Congress can only pretend to do that by borrowing or printing the money.)
That destructive course will only continue unless we transform the meaning of reform from what the government can do to what it must stop doing. We are being overcome by a towering wave of government that corrupts citizens and politicians alike, as surely as bread and circuses destroyed the Roman Republic. Before it is too late, we must reverse the tide. We must not submit to politicians who promise to take care of us if we surrender our freedom to them--we must throw them out of office.
Americans must decide whether or not they will continue to surrender their personal choices about everything--health care, the education of their children, the energy and food they need to live, and the financial system so beautifully managed by the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd.
The era of ever-diminishing freedom and ever-increasing government must be brought to an end. We must start afresh and build a new Empire of Liberty. We must fight to take America back, and that battle can start with health care-- in the courts and at the ballot box. It will be a long battle, but we must begin it now and fight one step at a time, for as long as it takes, if our lives and freedoms are to survive.
Richard E. Ralston is Executive Director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Newport Beach, California. Copyright © 2010 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.