One of the loudest, and most oft-repeated, reasons given by our elitists in Washington for the need to dramatically overhaul the most effective and efficient healthcare system in the history of mankind is that healthcare in America is too expensive.
I have read countless analyses of the bill by those who have at least attempted to read it. And nowhere in H.R. 3200 -- at least to my knowledge -- is tort reform addressed. Tort reform should sit on the top of the list of remedies for our high healthcare costs. Reducing jury awards would reduce malpractice insurance premiums. Reducing malpractice insurance premiums would reduce physician and hospital costs. And reducing physician and hospital costs would have a dramatic effect on the overall cost of healthcare in America.
Why, then, is tort reform a non-issue? Put simply: Congress is in the pocket of the trial lawyers. They can demonize the insurance industry. They can demonize drug companies. They can insinuate that physicians perform unnecessary surgeries in order to inflate their bottom line. But where are their rants against the mountains of frivolous malpractice lawsuits that are not only adding dramatically to the overall cost of healthcare, but are also driving thousands upon thousands of good doctors out of business?
Trial lawyers are a sacred cow. The anti-capitalist elites pick and choose their self-created enemies of the people with power-based skill.
I have determined to read in its entirety H.R. 3200, not so that I can join the crusade to derail the abomination popularly known as the healthcare reform bill – although I certainly will do my best in that regard – but simply because I believe that it may be among the most important (this time in an infamous sense) piece of legislation ever deliberated upon in the history of our republic. I want to know what it contains before my family and I become unwilling, but inevitable, victims of its toxins.
I say ‘inevitable’ since the limitations this bill places on citizen choices for private health insurers (i.e., the ability to change from one private insurer to another, or the ability to alter an existing policy) are virtually non-existent. Combining that infringement on our liberties with the fact that government-care premiums will undercut private health insurers, it is just a matter of time before the American people, and American business, have no choice but to submit completely to a government healthcare monopoly in which bureaucrats ... many of them unelected and unaccountable to the electorate ... will be making life and death decisions for us all.
I have been reading for about a week now and am up to page 200 (of 1,017). I wish there were 100 hours in a day ... or that the bill were significantly more straightforward and didn’t require six readings of each paragraph. Reading this monstrosity is slightly more uncomfortable than repeatedly sticking oneself in the eye with a hot poker. The verbiage is an acute example of overkill, and yet the intent of most of it is still nebulous.
I have spent hours on some of the sections – reading certain paragraphs over half a dozen times because their intent is so unclear – and I often come up with more questions than answers.
For instance, one example (of countless):
Upon the urging of a friend (thank you, John Cooper), I temporarily skipped ahead to page 424 which tackles ‘Advanced Care Planning Consultation’. I did that because so many conservative bloggers are claiming that the ‘end of life planning’ in that section is euthanasia-related.
I found that the section apparently amends the Social Security Act, in that it offers a Medicare-covered ‘advanced care planning consultation’ every five years. Yet I cannot find anywhere in the section a reference to whether this ‘consultation’ is voluntary or mandatory (as some are reporting). It would seem to me that that stipulation is of some importance.
Such grey areas are extraordinarily dangerous because the bill is so convoluted and complicated that, were it to become law, I can envision many instances where interpretations would wind up in court (and it is rife with interpretation-inviting wording), and the results would depend on which activist judges were to render the decisions – with alarming precedents begin set all along the way, of course.
I actually concur with John Conyers’ opinion that it is a gargantuan task to read this bill – but it would require significantly longer than his 'two days' to do (I would estimate, conservatively, a good week, at eight solid hours a day). And even then a conscientious reader would have a mile-long list of let-me-get-this-straight questions to set before an attorney.
The difference between me (and you, dear reader) and Congressman Conyers, though, is that the dishonorable Mr. Conyers is paid to read and understand the legislation on which he votes. His Michigan constituents expect him to have a working knowledge of bills that he supports and votes to include in the law of the land.
I truly doubt that any of the 535 people who dare to call themselves our ‘leaders’ in the House and Senate will expend the time and effort to read through this entire bill. So, in a truly representative republic, in which those representatives take their ‘public servant’ role seriously, it seems to me there are two alternatives:
- (1) Simplify the bill so that you can vote on something understandable, that can be read in a reasonable amount of time, and understood by someone without a juris doctorate, or
(2) Wait to vote on the bill until you have read, and understood, everything it contains
Our Founders were very specific in the parameters they defined as the powers of the federal government. Its powers consisted of those powers that the individual citizen, or the states, could not efficiently perform themselves, such as providing for the common defense of the nation (i.e., securing the borders perhaps?), ensuring unhindered, safe trade on the high seas, crafting treaties with foreign governments on behalf of the republic, regulating interstate commerce ...
Our Constitution states that the American citizen has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Healthcare ... or many of the other ‘rights’ that our government has convinced us were bestowed upon us by God (and they have convinced us of this simply in order to incrementally become godlike themselves, in order to ensure a kind of perverted ‘equality’ in achieving theses faux-‘rights’) ... is not enumerated, either literally or by insinuation, in the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness vision.
Healthcare is a good, and a service, not a right. It is something a citizen is expected to earn. And, if a citizen is incapable of earning that good/service, then, in a moral society, private entities will work to pick up the slack. Genuine liberty always results in an increase in human charity, which in turn promotes self-reliance. Government programs for those in need destroy charitable organizations and foster dependency. Trouble is, in America 2009, goods and services are gradually morphing into rights. And with each successive addition to the list of 'rights' comes an increase in the dictatorial power of the federal bureaucracy.
Many a power that should have remained in the hands of the people and/or the states (see the Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people) has been usurped by the elitists in the White House and on Capitol Hill. Not only have they taken our liberties from us, but they are now dictating, extra-Constitutionally, tyrannical boundaries on those liberties that remain, and they intend to enforce their illegal laws with a fascist ferocity that would have rendered Mussolini green with envy.
As far as I am aware there has not been a Constitutional amendment that permits the federal government to:
- (1) limit a citizen’s choice regarding his selection of healthcare providers, with all ‘options’ inevitably ending at the door of government-care
(2) force an employer to provide a specific kind of healthcare for his employees (let alone micro-manage that policy down to the last dotted i and crossed t).
(3) designate a federal bureaucrat, or committee, to determine accessibility of healthcare options to various segments of the citizenry
(4) force private healthcare plans (read: free market businesses) to enroll certain clients
(5) use public money to pay for insurance for some, citizens and non-citizens
(6) require government access to personal health records
(7) dictate payment limits for healthcare services
(8) require the citizenry to purchase insurance
(9) place ‘employment obligations’, dictating fields of study, on the states
Mark my word: It won't be long before our 'right' to healthcare morphs into the government's power to dictate how we must live in order to receive that healthcare.
Here is the document:
I defy anyone to find anything in that precious document that permits the federal government to limit our freedoms, and impose the draconian requirements and penalties on the separate and sovereign states, individuals and businesses, as outlined in this legislation. The Tenth Amendment strictly prohibits all of the above.
Here is the President’s oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Here is the House and Senate’s oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
America has been betrayed by her leadership. Our ‘public servants’ are introducing blatantly unconstitutional legislation that will have toxic, liberty-robbing, quality-of-life-altering ramifications far into the future. The legislation is so filled with draconian usurpations of power that even those ‘representatives’ who will eventually vote on the finalized bill are freely admitting that they cannot reasonably be expected to familiarized themselves with its contents.
And they claim to be our ‘public servants’.
With every stroke of the pen, and every refusal to hold fast to their oath of office, they are declaring themselves enemies of the principles upon which this republic was founded. It is increasingly falling to the people to resurrect the Constitution and see that it is returned to its former pre-eminence. Ignorance of our roots and apathy that has kept us from holding our elected representatives accountable have led us to this place.
It’s time for outrage.
Rick and I are having houseguests for three weeks this month – a British woman with whom I have been corresponding for fifty-two years (we became ‘pen pals’ when we were both ten years old), her husband, and their adopted seventeen-year-old son.
During their stay with us, if our schedule permits, we plan to attend the August 11th townhall meeting at which Senator Arlen Specter will be the main speaker. We hope to be able to speak, and we also hope my friend will be able to ask Senator Specter why he intends to force American healthcare to mirror the British system, by which she and her family have been handcuffed for decades. But, even if we are not able to do so, I strongly suspect that others will voice the questions we are prepared to ask – and they will be equally unwilling to accept talking-points pablum as an acceptable answer.
I urge every reader here to do something similar. Attend a townhall meeting; write to your representatives and tell them how outraged you are, and that you intend to work night and day to see to it that they are not returned to Washington if they support this abomination.
August of 2009, during this congressional break, may well prove to be among the most watershed times in the history of our republic. As I see it, upon returning to Washington, our ‘representatives’ will be prepared to do one of two things:
- (1) Tell their colleagues how outraged their constituents are, and that they can no longer support this travesty, or
(2) Roll up their sleeves in agenda-driven arrogance, determined to railroad this bill into law, in spite of the wishes of those who put them in office.
The American Republic required strict limitation of government power. Those powers permitted would be precisely defined and delegated by the people, with all public officials being bound by their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. The democratic process would be limited to the election of our leaders and not used for granting special privileges to any group or individual nor for defining rights ... from A Republic, If You Can Keep It