Okay. Let’s try this one out. You don’t have to drive, but if you do, the government can make you buy car insurance. Okay, sure. Except, as has been stated here on The Patriot Perspective and elsewhere, you don’t have to drive. You also can drive on your private property without insurance. Ranch trucks often have expired tags because the ranchers don’t drive them on public roads. No big deal.
The logical structure at work is that if you are going to do something, the government can make you purchase a product to pay for damage you might incur with abuse of the priviledge of driving on public roads. Sure.
That logic, in a health care context, is so blatantly absurd that Dow should be taken to a first year philosophy class and schooled like the fool he’s showing himself to be.
What is health insuranc for? To offset the costs of critical illness or injury, or in the case of some health insurance plans (like car insurance defensive driver courses) to offset potential costs by encouraging good healthy activities (gym memberships, etc.) How do you get ill or injured? Those are conditions of living.
So, you don’t have to exist, but if you do, the government can make you buy insurance?
Unlike silly examples involving broccoli and cell phones, that so-called “bootstrap” argument is sound. But here the critics drop their ideological mask as surely as the court dropped it in the Gonzales ruling. Their argument can be restated thusly: if you repeal laws requiring hospitals to treat the poor, you eliminate the constitutional basis for mandatory insurance coverage.
Um, not quite. Hospitals can view providing emergency services as the cost of doing business. They don’t turn away people who are injured on their doorstep, but neither will they do a quintuple bypass and emergency pancreatic cancer screening and removal on a hobo who stumbles in. If they hobo doesn’t care enough about his own life to work for something to help him in his old age, a hospital needn’t, and isn’t, responsible to send him to the Mayo Clinic for a decade’s worth of chemotherapy. Now, maybe he did work, and his life fell apart. Them’s the breaks. Maybe his family, community, or church will help him out. There may be charities that help him out, or even pharmaceutical companies that would offer him treatment that’s still in the approval process if he’s willing.
Mandating coverage just means that we all get the same treatment as the hobo off the street, not that the hobo gets better coverage.
You don’t have to pull the analytical thread of that reasoning very hard to see that it boils down to an argument for allowing the poor to die.
Wait, you mean there’s a way for the Supreme Court to keep people from dying? Well if that’s all it takes, hey, SCOTUS, I don’t want to die either! Rule that I can’t die!
In other words, the only people entitled to health care are the people who can afford it.
Yes, that’s exactly how it works. To borrow from Heinlein’s Starship Troopers: “Life? What ‘right’ to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries.” If you work and can swim, if you work and can afford health care, you get it. Do we as a society want to save the drowning man? Yes. Do we try to? Yes. That’s why hospitals provide emergency care. If the drowning man keeps making stupid decisions trying to drown himself – in the context of health, if he’s anorexic or obese, a drug addict or an alcoholic, and doesn’t try to save himself, do we have to rehabilitate him? No. That’s his life to throw away, unless we’re into the realm of control… which is the progressive ideal.
The only people entitled to health care are the people who can afford it. People who can’t afford it, under this legislation, are using the government’s gun to take from those who can. If you don’t pay up and buy, you pay up in tax penalties. If you don’t pay the tax that’s being redistributed, you pay at the point of the IRS’s new 14″ shotguns.
Keep in mind the whole reason that health insurance companies exist is because the expenses behind really good health care are really high. Just like the costs for auto repair, or the costs if someone is injured in a car accident are very high, there’s a reason we get insurance – it’s to cover those unexpected, low-frequency by high-impact costs.
To take this all the way back to Samuel Chase, Jefferson was concerned about Federalist power. Arguing that the fedgov has an authority to tax you or jail you merely for existing, and that you owe someone else a debt merely for existing (or that if you’re poor enough, someone owes you), is absurd. The government is picking winners and losers based purely on politics, and the Supreme Court exists in part to prevent mob rule, and to provide adherence to the Constitution.
We can argue about whether President Jefferson was right to try to impeach Justice Chase. But there’s no question that he was right to say that impeachment is an option for justices who undermine constitutional values. There are other options, as well. We might amend the Constitution to establish judicial term limits. Or we might increase the number of justices to dilute the influence of its current members (though FDR could tell you how that turned out). In the end, however, it is the duty of the people to protect the Constitution from the court. Social progress cannot be held hostage by five unelected men.
There’s no undermining Constitutional values in protecting the one from the many. There’s no undermining by protecting in the few who will be subject to bills of attainder to pay for the many who vote by mob rule for redistribution.
There are other options, like the aforementioned Court-Packing scheme, meant to undermine the actual Constitution by trying runarounds. The Constitution is what it is, not what some progressive demands it is. Note also that when those five unelected men are department heads like EPA head Lisa Jackson, Interior Department Ken “Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever” Salazar, Science and Technology Czar John “Sterilize the Water, Force Abortions” Holdren, and the like, it’s okay.
Social progress cannot be held hostage by five unelected men.
Dow, you just put yourself firmly in the camp of the enemies of actual freedom.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
– William Pitt the Younger