I don't have time to comment on this right now but did want to get it out. Basically I agree with everything in this press release and urge anyone interested in health freedom to join the National Health Federation.
HEALTH CARE REFORM UPDATE –A GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED HEALTH CARE SYSTEM TAKES SHAPE
By Lee Bechtel, NHF Lobbyist
October 6, 2009
In his recent address to Congress on health-care reform, President Obama made clear that he and his allies in the Congress know how to spend your health-care money better than you do. It’s a matter, you see, of “shared responsibility”: You share your dollars with the Feds, and the Feds are responsible for making your health-care decisions. In the health-care bill currently before the House, H.R.3200, there is even a “Health Choices Commissioner,” to be appointed by the President, who will rigorously define your choices.
There are numerous health-freedom and government-control issues in play in the current Congressional legislation. One that really sticks out is the issue of enforcing an individual mandate to buy insurance, and the costs for Americans who take responsibility and do not want the Federal government involved. Never before has Congress forced Americans to buy a private good or service. In this case, that means the forced purchase of private insurance or a government-insurance plan. In fact, for those with a traditional understanding of the Constitution as a charter of liberty (as opposed to the “living” version), the list of Congress’ powers in Article I, Section 8 grants it no authority to require any such thing.
Along with H.R.3200, Senator Max Baucus (D. Mont.) has unveiled a Senate Finance Committee bill that also has an individual mandate. It would levy a penalty of up to $3,800 on families for what President Obama has called “irresponsible behavior,” by which he means health-care choices of which he and his Democratic allies in Congress disapprove. In Obama’s usage, “personal responsibility” is selective; it does not extend to the question of taking responsibility for one’s own health care. That’s the government’s job, of course.
President Obama is right on one key point: The current system makes those with health coverage pay for those without. Those who are without health coverage, illegal aliens or US citizens, often get their care in hospital emergency rooms – the most expensive place possible. The President correctly calls this a hidden tax. Under existing Federal law, hospitals are required to provide treatment to everyone who comes into their emergency room, regardless of their ability to pay. There is no legislation under consideration that would change this.
At this time, there remains a difference between the key House bill, H.R.3200, and the key Senate legislation on Federal health-insurance coverage for illegal aliens. In the Waxman bill, illegal aliens could register and if they pay the monthly premium for a taxpayer-funded Federal health plan – "the public option" – they would then be covered. In other words, there is no requirement for verification of US citizenship. Without trying to sound partisan, there have been, to the best of my knowledge, four separate attempts/amendments by Republicans in the House committees to require verification. These amendments were voted down by the Democratic majorities in two different House committees. There have been other Republican amendments to reform the private health-insurance market that were similarly defeated (such as allowing insurance companies to sell such policies across State lines without individual State restrictions, similar to the way that automobile insurance is now sold, thereby allowing price competition on a scale not seen before).
On the other hand, as it now stands, the Baucus bill in the Senate at least requires one form of US citizenship verification (i.e., birth certificate, US citizenship certificate, social security card, or a State driver's license) to be eligible for and to pay for and be covered by a basic Federal government insurance plan. US taxpayer dollars, civil penalties, corporate and individual taxes, and taxes on middle-income taxpayers who have insurance coverage, will pay for this illegal alien coverage. This, in all fairness, may be good for individual State budgets, since many States, especially in the Southwest, already pay for illegal alien health care in hospital emergency rooms through their State Medicaid programs. Good for States like California, home to House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, for example.
It gets worse. In the Baucus plan, if a person refuses to buy health insurance, either through the private insurance State cooperative program to be created, or via the Federal public insurance plan, when cited by the IRS issuing the mandated IRS penalty, and if a person also refuses to pay the penalty on Constitutional grounds, they will have to go to court and could end up in jail. This is fact. This was extensively discussed at the Baucus Senate mark-up and several Republican amendments to change this were voted down by the majority of Democrat members on the committee. The political spin on both sides of Congress is deep and heavy for proponents of government-controlled health insurance.
Requiring everyone to buy government-specified health insurance, whether they need it or not, is an unacceptable violation of personal liberty. The choice between freedom and responsibility, as President Obama and his congressional allies portray it, is a false choice. It is a way of taxing healthy people, and people who do not want Federal government control of health-care decisions, without calling it a tax.
As it stands at the time of this writing, the House and Senate will likely vote on their respective health-care reform legislation in early to mid October. The Senate Finance Committee is marking-up the unnumbered Baucus bill now. The process is not over yet, but when each chamber of the Congress passes its legislation, there will be a Conference Committee appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. President Obama and his allies, i.e. the Democrats, will have the majority of representation on this committee to work out differences between the two bills. This is a legislative process fact.
Congressional and Presidential elections do have consequences. The final script for the shape of our new health-care system is yet to be completed. One aspect is almost certain: American's Constitutional rights are being trampled on, along with individual health freedom of choice. The strong cry against this usurpation of our liberties is already starting to be heard, even in the insulated halls of Congress.
More than one hundred and fifty years ago, the French economist Frédéric Bastiat made the case that there is the right to individual liberty and then there are claimed “false” rights (such as the “right” to healthcare) that can only exist at the expense of destroying individual liberty. Nowhere is the battle between the two more vividly depicted than it is now with this health-care fight. If you care about your individual freedom – and just as importantly care about your right to make your own health-care choices that will differ from those that the government wants to make for you – then you will contact your Congressional representatives and tell them to either throw H.R.3200 out the window or else don’t ever bother coming home.