Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Velvet Glove Contains an Iron Fist

Coercion, pure and simple.

Robert Bidinotto, award-winning, independent author, sent a letter to his Congressman objecting to the health care bill. He explained his personal choice not to have health insurance, which for many thoughtful Americans is a personal decision about risks and individual circumstances. In his letter he said, "I currently opt not to have health insurance, for financial reasons. But all the pending proposals would force me by law to take on this additional burden, or pay a tax penalty -- or, I assume, go to jail if I refused to pay the penalty. That is simply tyrannical."

Bidinotto's concern is not mere rhetoric.

In a recent town meeting Robert's U. S. Senator, Ben Cardin, declined to say that you will not be fined (you go to jail if if you don't pay your fines) if you don't buy health insurance. As reported by WUSA9 ("Cardin Town Hall Meeting On Health Care Gets Angry"):

Perhaps the most controversial [question], came from Robert Broadus of Clinton, Maryland, an audience member who had lost his job and replaced it with one that paid him far less money.

"I decided not to get the health insurance. That's working out for me because I'm able to save that extra money and give it to my family members and use it on myself. Senator Cardin, I want to know are you going to tell me an individual...that I have to buy health care or else you're going to fine me $2,500 every year I don't get it? Our founding fathers assured us we have a Bill of Rights and I want to see you uphold that," Broadus said in an increasingly emotional voice and to scattered applause.

Cardin responded by asking Broadus what would happen if he became sick, broke a bone, had a car accident and ended up in an emergency room.

"You don't pay. You are part of the population that shifts its costs over to a person who does pay, and they're paying for you," Cardin said.

Explaining how hospitals have often to absorb those costs, Cardin said many hospitals would chose simply to leave the community.

"I just think the overriding public interest is to require you and everyone in this country to have health insurance," Cardin said.

It's about control, people. You WILL DO what they tell you to do, or else -- because they know how to run your life better than you do -- YOU IGNORANT STUPID DROOLING IDIOT.

Cardin's argument for restricting individual freedom to choose is a regurgitation of the helmet law argument: The State pays for the support of your family if you are injured because you did not wear a helmet. Therefore, the State may require you to wear a helmet to minimize its potential costs.

Check your premises, people. Why does the State (the taxpayers) need to support the families of injured cyclists, and just exactly how many families of injured cyclists did they actually have to support before restricting the liberties of responsible people? The truth is that helmet laws were passed on theoretical assumptions with no factual support. And no one challenged the basic premise that the State must support the families of injured cyclists, which they don't.

By the same token the proponents of universal health care and this bill argue that because the government underwrites much of the cost of health care, it can control and configure the entire health care system. But too few challenge the basic premise that the government should pay for any health care in the first place.

When I was growing up in the '40s and '50s, we had no health insurance. My mother was widowed in 1942 and was was left with my two older sisters and not much more when I was 4-months old. But she responsibly assured that my sisters and I remained sufficiently healthy to become self-supporting adults. She paid her bills. And the family doctor was a friend, not a Medicare Provider or an adversary.

My mother's uncle was a country doctor during the Great Depression. He was a professional. He took care of his neighbors and trusted them to pay him for his services in whatever way they could -- cash, chickens, hams (by the way, Tennessee country ham is better than gold), labor, etc. No Medicare paperwork, just eyeball to eyeball trust. And the system worked.

So if health care was not a right then, why is it a right now? If you believe that the concept of "rights" is relative to time or contexts, you have a flawed philosophy, or no philosophy, which is a deadly circumstance to be in.

Government does not have to be involved in health care at all. In any respect. Period. Do you want them involved? To decide who your physician is? To decide when or if you have an X-ray, a blood test, a mammogram, a colonoscopy, a knee replacement or whatever? Do you really want someone to preempt and make your personal/financial choices for you about these intensely personal matters? Or, are you the kind of person who wants it all, free, at the expense of someone else?

Turning those decisions over to the Government, whose ultimate recourse is coercion and force, after all, is an ethical decision. Will you turn the guns of the Government toward your neighbor, deny them the right to choose, and force them to pay for your medical care and the care of the people who those in charge deem entitled to receive it?

We started out with our freedoms protected. The only way to lose them is for a majority to give them up voluntarily. Are you willing to answer to your grandchildren that you were too timid to speak out to protect them?

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