Friday, August 21, 2009

What the health care debate is really about

From today's WSJ:
All these concerns are real and matter. But the larger point is that Democrats aren't proposing a subsidy to enable people to get the care they need. Rather they want to shift decision-making authority from the American citizen to the government bureaucrat.

These proposals are yet another manifestation of the no-growth, redistributionist mindset, combined with an elitist, authoritarian philosophy of government. To buy into them and ignore the reality they've produced elsewhere is to love humanity more than human beings, and value utopian ideals of equity over the tremendous individual costs they inflict.

In these proposals, human beings aren't individuals with freedom to contract as they see fit and make their own best judgments, but interchangeable widgets for whom rules should be fashioned and enforced based on age, or quality of life, or some other metric. Bureaucrats would evaluate whether one is young enough to warrant a pacemaker or a hip, or sufficiently long gone from a hospital to justify readmission. Medicine would become a one-size-fits-all bureaucracy, not an art, in which the physician would face real risks for deciding that the bureaucratically approved "effective treatment" isn't what works in a particular case.

It makes no sense to try to achieve a bipartisan consensus when the fundamentals underlying the Democratic approach are so contrary to the entire foundational idea of who we are as Americans. We're the country that believes that individuals have the right not to have their decisions interfered with, and that individuals are best able to make those decisions that most affect their life and happiness. Nothing could be more central to that than the ability to control one's own health and the health options of loved ones.

There is much that needs reforming in health care, and everyone wants to make sure that those who are genuinely uninsured because of pre-existing conditions, for example, have access to coverage and care. But the Democratic proposals use those real problems as a stalking horse to achieve very different goals. Would-be Republican deal-brokers should stand aside. They need to understand how the rest of us see this: That this is not just about the normal compromise of politics, but the core of what America is and will be.

Once the left's health-care vision is in place, it will be almost impossible to undo. If this takeover isn't worth resisting, what is?


Post a Comment