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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nat'l Healthcare vs Common Sense and the Constitution

The draconian single-payer health care program the Administration is so fervently touting is, by any reasonable measure, unconstitutional. It is a power grab whose purpose is more to advance the President's socialist agenda than to either constructively address the healthcare needs of the mythical "46 million uninsured" or to responsibly reduce healthcare costs across the board. Worst of all, single-payer will be terribly costly, and will lead to rationing and a sharp diminishment in the quality of healthcare.

But, first, let's deconstruct that "46 million uninsured" figure which tugs at our collective heart strings and which provides the Administration's rationale, aka cover, for a punishing healthcare overhaul.

To keep it in perspective, this 46 million figure constitutes about 15% of the population. So, first off, why would anyone advocate undermining the healthcare of the 85% (255 million people) who, reportedly, are satisfied with their healthcare coverage?

Conservatively, of the 46 million without insurance...

...about 6 million are "medicaid undercounts" meaning that those who are on one or two gov't health insurance programs (Medicaid or S-Chip) but who mistakenly or intentionally tell census takers that they are uninsured. (Source: Dept. of Health & Human Services).

...about 6 million are eligible for free or heavily subsidized gov't health insurance (Medicaid or SCHIP) but have not yet signed up.

...about 10+ million are non-citizens of whom an estimated 2 million are legal immigrants and more than 8+ million are most likely illegal aliens.

...approx. 8 million uninsured earn between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, and another 8 million make more than $75,000 a year and opt not to purchase health insurance

Thus, about 10 million of the 46 million figure above are American citizens/legal immigrants who for whatever reasons are uninsured.

Interestingly, even the Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit often quoted by the media, pegs the number of uninsured American citizens who do not qualify for government health care programs and who earn less than $50,000 year between 9 and 15 million--a FAR cry from the 46 million Americans who comprise the huddled domestic masses yearning for health care so fervently bandied about by the progressive elites.

By my liberally inflating the uninsured figure--NOT including illegal aliens--to 15,000,000, it would still be MUCH cheaper for the gov't to cut a $7,500 check for each family/individual in this group since the annual cost would be much less $100 billion/year. Costly, but a MUCH better deal than what single-payer promises. Better yet, wouldn't it be MUCH wiser if we sidelined ideology altogether and fashioned an efficient and affordable solution which would benefit all Americans? Probably too much to ask.

Obviously, misdiagnosing, whether intentionally or otherwise, the extent and the reasons for a person's being uninsured invites painful waste and needless ruin for the entire nation. To solve America's healthcare problems and concerns, elitists must put on the legislative breaks and embark on an honest, bipartisan, deliberate and objective analysis. Who among us would arrogantly deign to dispute that assertion. Single-minded progressives, of course.

Also, since the federal government, with printing presses in hand, will be both the referee and the 8000-lb healthcare gorilla in a single-payer system on that proverbial "level" playing field, there will be no consumer choice. The vast majority of Americans who are satisfied with their insurance will inevitably dump their coverage, and the private healthhcare industry will evaporate. So much for free enterprise and competition.

Clearly, there are better ways to effectively deal with the painful increases in healthcare costs without adversely affecting the quality of care. Newt Gingrich asserts that fully 1/3 of all health spending, or $800 billion of a $2.5 trillion system, is wasted on "defensive medicine, red tape and outright fraud" which could be successfully addressed if a bipartisan discussion and solution were seriously sought by the Administration. Like most Americans, he believes that championing real competition, choice and individual control over one's healthcare is the path to a more effective solution to healthcare costs. Gee, who would have guessed.

Specifically, Mr. Gingrich proposes four common-sense principles which should guide any serious health reform discussion: "1) improve health by incentivizing prevention, wellness and early health; 2) give doctors and hospitals incentives to deliver highest-quality care through fair and proper payments; 3) reform public programs like Medicare and Medicaid to root out fraud, reduce waste and reward quality; 4) empower individuals with the information and financial resources needed to be better, more-informed consumers." Much too sensible an approach which, I fear, will never work in a progressive-dominated Washington, DC.

Unfortunately, engaging in a bipartisan debate to reduce healthcare costs while protecting consumer choice and quality care is not the goal of the socialists currently in power in DC. These elitists simply want centralized c-o-n-t-r-o-l. Never mind that the model they are pushing has failed everywhere else in the Western World where it has been tried.

The inevitable question is this: would you be comfortable with the federal government making your health care decisions for you? A preponderance of Americans have responded with a resounding NO! But, that won't stop the power elite in Washington. Why? Because "we the people" are pesky lowborns--annoyances unworthy of progressives' attention.

But, thanks to our insightful Founding Fathers and the mettle and courage of patriotic state legislators around the country, we may yet triumph.

Already, state legislatures are passing laws which would constitutionally nullify any federal or state law, rule or regulation which requires individuals or employers to participate in any health care system. In the forefront of this pushback is Arizona which plans to overrrule anything that prohibits the sale of private health insurance within that state's jurisdiction. Indiana, New Mexico, Minnesota, N. Dakota and Wyoming are weighing similar initiatives for their 2010 ballot.

But, is nullification constitutional? Co-authored by none other than Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 categorically asserts that states, as sovereign entities, can judge for themselves whether the federal government has overstepped its constitutional limitations. That may not sit well with the elitist thugs in DC, but the constitutional views of these Founding Fathers cannot be easily trifled with or dismissed by even the most ardent leftists among them. And it's up to us to make sure they don't.

And there's more constitutional pushback. Rep. Paul (R-TX) has introduced the Protect Patients" and Physicians" Privacy Act (HR2630) which allows "patients and physicians to opt out of any federally mandated, created, or funded electronic medical records system", would repeal sections of federal law estabishing a "unique health identifier" and would require patient consent before any electronic medical records could be released to a third party.

In addition, Rep. Paul is introducing the Not Health Care Act (HR 2629) which would prohibit the feds from compelling Americans to purchase health insurance or conditioning participation in any federal healthcare program.

These initiatives supplement 10th amendment resolutions and laws which many states have already passed or are in the process of passing which reassert state sovereignty in matters relating to Real ID legislation, medical marijuana laws, control of state militias, firearms control and, now, health care. So, the constitutional battle has only begun.

Federal healthcare reform, cap-and-tax and other unconstitutional federal encroachments have, at long last, struck some very raw nerves in the heartland. This federal intrusiveness is beginning to run up against heretofore inviolable constitutional firewalls, but only "we the people" can ensure those firewalls are not breached.

State and individual pushback across the country has begun in earnest--and none too soon. So long as we do not opt to apathetically sit it out on the sidelines, we can turn the counter-revolutionary progressive tide.

Let's solve this serious problem intelligently and apolitically. Ideology should have no place at the table.

("All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." Thomas Jefferson)

("The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment." Robert M. Hutchins)