Thursday, July 1, 2010

Health Care and Independence Day

On a hot summer day in July, 1776, delegates from the new American colonies met together at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia to debate what has become "American Scripture." Over the last 234 years, our nation has enjoyed the living in the "land of the free and the home of the brave." Yet, despite the freedoms enjoyed by over 300 million people, the health of America remains a challenge. Although huge advances in medicine and technology have taken place since those fledgling days of the nation, most within the past few decades, individuals and families still struggle to stay well. Some of that is due to economic reasons, and some due to environmental issues. However, the biggest challenge Americans have now and in the very few years ahead comes from the restraints that are caused by governmental overreach into the health care system.

Former President Ronald Reagan once said: “I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” The July 4th holiday is a cause for celebration in America: time spent with family, enjoying the beautiful landscape, and traveling to destinations both new and old. Unfortunately, the massive bureaucratic machine in Washington are turning up the heat on the men and women who keep our country prosperous and safe. Unfortunately, the federal government continues to ignore the wishes of its boss, the people. America has the greatest and bravest people in the world. But it really shouldn't surprise you. They are simply carrying on a tradition begun 234 years ago when 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honors to defend America from tyranny. That same fight goes on today. And it is waged by Americans just as brave as those who gathered in Philadelphia in 1776.

With the passage of the new health care legislation this year, there was disregard of the will of the people, explosive expansion of the reach of government, unprecedented corporate favoritism, and the impending end of quality healthcare, according to CampaignForLiberty.com. Those in favor of this bill touted their good intentions of ensuring quality healthcare for all Americans, as if those of who were against the bill are against good medical care. They cite fanciful statistics of deficit reduction, while simultaneously planning to expand the already struggling medical welfare programs we currently have. They somehow think that healthcare in this country will be improved by swelling our welfare rolls and cutting reimbursement payments to doctors who are already losing money. It is estimated that thousands of doctors will be economically forced out of the profession should this government fuzzy math actually try to become healthcare reality. No one has thought to ask what good mandatory health insurance will be if people can't find a doctor. Legislative hopes and dreams don't always stand up well against economic realities.

Frustratingly, according to CampaignForLiberty.com, this legislation does not deal at all with the real reasons access to healthcare is a struggle for so many — the astronomical costs. If tort reform was seriously discussed, if the massive regulatory burden on healthcare was reduced and reformed, if the free market was allowed to function and apply downward pressure on healthcare costs as it does with everything else, perhaps people wouldn't be so beholden to insurance companies in the first place. If costs were lowered, more people could simply pay for what they need out of pocket, as they were able to do before government got so involved. And, instead, in the name of going after greedy insurance companies, the federal government is going to make people even more beholden to them by mandating that everyone buy their product! Hefty fines are due from anyone found to have committed the heinous crime of not being a customer of a health insurance company. The government will need to hire some 16,500 new IRS agents to police compliance with all these new mandates and administer various fines. So in government terms, this is also a jobs bill. Never mind that this program is also likely to cost the private sector some 5 million jobs.

Of course, the most troubling aspect of this bill is that it is so blatantly unconstitutional and contrary to the ideals of liberty, according to CampaignForLiberty.com. Nowhere in the Constitution is there anything approaching authority for the federal government to do any of this. The founders would have been horrified at the idea of government forcing citizens to become consumers of a particular product from certain government approved companies. And, almost 40 states are said to already be preparing legal and constitutional challenges to this legislation, and if the courts stand by their oaths, they will win. Protecting the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, should be the court's responsibility. Citizens have a responsibility over their own life, but they also have the liberty to choose how they will live and protect their lives. Healthcare choices are a part of liberty, another part that is being stripped away. Government interference in healthcare has already infringed on choices available to people, but rather than getting out of the way, it is entrenching itself even more deeply into the American pocketbook.

According to the Heritage Foundation, Americans face a direct and historic challenge to their personal liberty and to their unique citizenship in a federal republic. Though its enactment of the massive Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), official Washington is not merely engi neering a federal takeover of health care, but is also radically altering the relationships between individuals and the government as well as the national government and the states. A much more indepth overview of this issue is found at this website: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704293604575343002839254896.html .

At present, the market place is attempting to figure out how to deal with the new health care mandates and still stay in business. Obviously, any casual reading (2,000+ pages) will give you a splitting headache and a mind numbing affect, which in its own right constitutes for medical attention. Perhaps the best course of action is to be vigilant on the home front when it comes to supporting conservative values, limited government, and lower taxes--all concepts that are inherently missing in the new health care legislation. The Constitution guarantees Americans the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--now there's a concept worth saluting. Plus, imagine if all elected officials were required by law to read it at least once a month to remind them why they were in office. They might have recognized how awful this legislation really is to America and its citizens.

On this 234th birthday of America's liberty, remember to honor those who have served or are serving to keep our nation safe. Be grateful for first responders like police, firefighters, and others who are called to duty to protect and to serve around the clock. Say a prayer for families who are missing those in harm's way and must carry on in their absence. Thank God for His unbounding mercy and protection of our country. Remember, freedom isn't free. Celebrate it this weekend with unbounding love and a commitment to be the best American you can be.

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

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