Big Health Insurance Overreach Calls For Washington Repentance (January 18, 2012)
On March 26, 2012, and for a few days thereafter, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments against the individual health insurance mandate from 26 states who have risen up against President's Obama's landmark legislation, which he signed back in March of 2010.
Twenty-six states, and most of the good old U.S.A., sees this law as a federal takeover of the historic and established health and welfare jurisidiction of the fifty states.
And in a federalist republic states sort of like to hold onto their turf, and to manage stuff at their own speed, and on their own cost curve.
This law, wishfully if not prayerfully known as "The Affordable Care Act" (ACA), had some unintended negative consequences. First, it sealed Washington's political party gridlock. Second, it has sapped all that our present President has tried to do. And third, it has piqued and will continue raising the ire of an enervated U.S. populace that never liked the mandate and is now must wait and see if it will be upheld, or courageously thrown out.
Besides, if this novel law is fiscally administered anything like the Defense Department, or the Federal Reserve, or our present federal entitlement programs, or foreign aid, it will be just another federal boondoggle crippling any faint hopes of Washington budgetary restraint.
How did it come about?
Washington was ably baptized by the Insurance Industry and this mandate was their price to guide Washington in all things healthy and truthy (compare Paul Starr's "The Mandate Miscalculation: Obama's health care blunder- and how to fix it." The New Republic 12.29.11. p. 11).
I don't want to get lost in the substantial political weeds of the matter but it bears mentioning that the health care political playing field has shifted. In 2008 Candidate Obama was against such a mandate, while his likely opponent in 2012 was long for it, but has been recently rebaptized by his party and presently stands against it.
It also must be said that Congress and the President could have required the expansion of traditional employer provided insurance and or mandatory employer based contributions, but feared the push back of multinational corporations.
And that health insurance reform could have been enacted and funded by a new tax, but taxes are not too popular, especially for the vast majority who are already insured.
So the whole health care "reform" fell not on any further employer responsibility (to the contrary) or any progressive taxation of those who could pay more, not on the folks with the money, but mostly on the uninsured and financially unstable middle class blokes and gals and families who didn't have the five to fifteen thousand dollars cash to insure themselves.
Apparently, they prefer eating and having the means to get to work more than health insurance.
So bipartisan Washington and Massachussets preened and touted their new "individualistic market approach," except that true markets and good governments usually don't force anyone to consume anything, now do they?
But the bigger issue is what the mandate says about us as human beings.
It says that when you and I are engaged in nothing more than living and breathing we have to buy corporate based health insurance, as if living is not a gift from God or an inalienable right. No, now it's privilidge, like driving a car, or obtaining an occupational license, and thus requires private insurance.
But wait- I thought that life itself was an inalienable type of thing, what we used to call a "right" back when rights meant something, not to mention the highest law of the land type of thing, the type of thing no king or government could require.
And I thought such ill fated laws as the ACA could be repented of:
"Because power in our government is so diffuse, the process of making law in America compels us to entertain the possibility that we not always right and to sometimes change our minds; it challenges us to examine our motives and our interests constantly, and suggests that both our individual and collective judgments are at once legitimate and highly fallible.
The historical record supports such a view. After all, if there was one impulse shared by all the Founders, it was a rejection of all forms of absolute authority, whether the king, the theocrat, the general, the oligarch, the dictator, the majority, or anyone else who claims to make choices for us. ..." (Barack Obama "The Audacity of Hope" Three Rivers Press, 2006, p. 92-93)
Mr. President and Dear Congresspeople, you made the choice of an individual mandate for us and it was the wrong choice.
On this matter you apparently did not know better than the Amercian people.
March 26, 2012 is when the Supreme Court will be tasked with unravelling this individual mandate snarl.
There's plenty of time for you in Washington to take out the individual mandate, and perhaps save our poltical system from a total meltdown.
And while you are at it- you all might just touch up the basics of health care- improve the prescription drug market, make the insurance markets open and consumer friendly, ensure pre-existing care requirements, promise the states some minimal per capita funding based on percentage of insured, and then let the states legislate and build on their innovations and successes.
Or to put it another way, I trust Vermont and Connecticut and New Mexico and New Hampshire ("Live Free or Die" or is that Live Free, But You Must Purchase Health Insurance) and Texas more than I do the shifting political winds of Washington and its agents at the Health and Human Services Department.
If the folks of Vermont want to do a public option or go single payer- have at it. If Connecticut wants to offer a competetive public option to compete with the big players in their backyard, fine.
Our states can lead in this area and must do so because they have more of the political accountability than our dear print-the-money and we-know-better folks in Washington.
And Mr. President, you had an incredible 2008 electoral mandate and you overreached for the supposed brass ring of the individual health insurance mandate. Don't feel bad- many of the kings of Israel and Judah overeached too when they began their jobs (I've got a bible citation on that from the middle of 2Kings if anyone interested).
The individual mandate is ripe for Washington repeal and repentance. Who knows if it's done soon and right, it could break the Washington gridlock, protect the credibility of the Supreme Court, and just might help one, or even both of the Presidential candidates come November.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...