Throughout the centuries, the elite amongst us have tried to sell their version of utopia. From Plato’s “Republic” to Obama’s “Hope and Change,” the ruling elite have tried to centrally plan our very existence, either by force or perfidy.
Unfortunately their vision of utopia generally morphs into a Progressive Dystopia. The latest version of this panacea is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare.
Vice President Joe Biden has been on the wrong side of history for most of his political career. However, Biden was correct when he famously quipped to President Utopus upon the signing of the PPACA into law: “This is “a big f—ing deal.” Although I agree with Biden in his sentiment, the reasons are diametrically opposed.
Universal healthcare/socialized medicine has been the holy grail of the Progressive movement dating back to Teddy Roosevelt. TR himself was an advocate of the social welfare system adopted by Bismarck in 19th-century Germany, which included universal healthcare.
The entitlement mentality of the Progressive movement sold ObamaCare as a panacea—as they do with every social welfare program. Unfortunately what is generally sold to the public as well intended generally results in being ill advised; the PPACA is no exception. The inherent problem with the Statist/Progressive mindset is that in their philosophy shaping common sense, they value theory over experience.
To the Progressive, “governance” is a euphemism for “central planning.” ObamaCare has very little—if anything—to do with healthcare. It has everything to do with consolidating power; healthcare was merely a means to an end. Tyranny by perfidy is no less insidious than tyranny by force.
Thomas Jefferson once said: “A government big enough to give you everything you need, is a government big enough to take everything that you have.” Somehow Progressives and their universal entitlement mentality never seem to grasp this. Or perhaps they do, which suggests motives that are more pernicious than altruistic.
Progressives like Biden and President Utopus advocate a universal healthcare system run by government bureaucrats. Do we really want our healthcare rationed by the central planners that gave us Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the DOT, the post office, Amtrak, the Dept. of Education, the stimulus, bailouts, nationalizing GM, etc.? The answer, of course, is self-evident.
ObamaCare is government intrusion into approximately 16% of our GDP. The end result with this type of coercive legislation is that it serves to de-incentivize private business from capital investment. Once this occurs, private companies hold onto their capital, investment dries up and medical advances come to a screeching halt.
Healthcare in the private sector is based upon merit, profit, competition and ingenuity, market-oriented features that promote cost control, efficiency and quality. Government-run enterprises are based upon mandated salaries and have very little to do with merit; hence, there is no motive to be efficient.
Once you remove the market-oriented features that should drive any goods and service (i.e. healthcare) and leave it to central government control, costs go up as quality goes down. Welcome to socialized medicine and rationing.
Healthcare in America is the worst except for all the rest. To be sure, healthcare in this country is not perfect—or anywhere else, for that matter. Minor reforms are necessary, allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines, and tort reforms would be an excellent start. Reforming the entire system to accommodate approximately 5% of the population is totally absurd.
Advocates argue that 30 to 40 million are uninsured. The argument is disingenuous, as it fails to breakdown that number. Millions are here illegally, yet have access to our healthcare. Millions choose not to be insured (i.e. young adults) and millions remain uninsured despite being eligible for Medicaid.
The true number of uninsured in this country is approximately 5%, which compares favorably to European and Canadian models, two systems the Progressives look to emulate. Transforming our entire healthcare system to accommodate 5% of the population is special welfare, not general welfare. That is completely antithetical to The Constitution and our founding principles.
The general welfare clause within The Constitution was designed to limit the ability of the federal government to tax, thereby limiting its power and size. ObamaCare levies a tax for lack of participation within a given sector of our economy, a complete usurpation of the general welfare clause.
Perhaps the best referendum on universal healthcare is provided by those who advocate for it. Three hospitals in the United States combine to treat approximately 18,000 foreign dignitaries each year. These foreign dignitaries, many from Canada and Europe, choose The Mayo Clinic, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and The Cleveland Clinic over their respective universal healthcare systems.
When looking at cancer as a whole, a person in the United States is 40% more likely to survive five years than his European or Canadian counterpart. Certain drugs (statins) and certain screening exams (mammograms) are readily available in this country, unlike our European and Canadian counterparts.
Teddy Roosevelt would have been wise to kill the baby in the bath water (Progressivism) a century ago. Unfortunately he did not; the legacy is the New Deal, the Great Society and now ObamaCare. As we head to November—and perhaps the most important election in a generation—a few questions come to mind. Has Obama governed under the guise of social justice (collectivism) and coercive legislation? Or has he governed with “We the People” as a backdrop, where the individual is allowed freedom of choice?
Has Obama governed through the prism of a planned economy? Or has he governed under the founding principle of entrepreneurship? Has Obama favored arbitrary government or the Rule of Law? Has Obama governed under the guise of collective duties or individual rights?
Has Obama espoused the principles of social justice, wealth redistribution, dependence, subservience, et al? Or has he espoused the principles of independence, self-reliance, initiative, personal responsibility, et al? The questions, of course, are all rhetorical; the answers are all self-evident. F.A. Hayek best described how Obama has governed in his book, “The Road to Serfdom”: he described it as “intellectual hubris.”
Thomas Paine wrote “The American Crisis” in December 1776 and began his work with this passage: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” As we head to November and in light of the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare, America is once again in crisis and these are indeed the times that try men’s souls.
Michael Ozga is the author of “Progressive Dystopia.” A is resident of Durham, Maine he has worked in the medical profession for over three decades.