Category Archives: Health Care

Is Obamacare Constitutional?

Whether you lean left or right, Uncommon Knowledge is a good source for debate over contemporary policy.  It’s hard to come by intelligent discussion in today’s media environment, on either side, and with that in mind the Hoover Institution does us all a favor with these interviews.

Their newest interlocutors are legal professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo.  Props also to Peter Robinson, the host, whom I find very enjoyable.  He’s not an ideologue, but rather a well-read and articulate interviewer.  Check out the first part of the interview here.

Seems especially pertinent since the house repealed Obamacare today.

A Simple Question On Health Care

From Yahoo News:

For the first time, most Americans would be required to purchase insurance, and face penalties if they refused. Much of the money in the bill would be devoted to subsidies to help families at incomes of up to $88,000 a year pay their premiums.

Let’s leave aside the question of requiring the purchase of insurance; we would rather have a coercive government than a free citizenry, because freedom requires something of us.  Fine.  Besides, many states, like mine, already require all drivers to have basic car insurance, and so this isn’t a huge leap.

Helping families with incomes of $88K buy insurance?  If I’m not mistaken, that is almost triple the poverty rate.  It is well over double what I make, and well into middle class.  Why do these families need subsidies to buy health insurance?  Many of these families can afford new cars, flat-screen tv’s, and regular sushi dinners.  Why the hell should the government pay for part of their insurance when someone of that income bracket, generally, CAN afford health care and simply CHOOSES not to have it?

Abortion is a whole separate issue. I’m honestly not sure if this bill allows for government funded abortion or not, honestly.    My own inclination is to side with the Catholic Bishops over Nancy Pelosi.  But why did this debate only revolve around abortion?  Let’s start with this: a government that won’t allow us to make “bad” choices is a government bordering – at minimum – on the despotic.  Welcome to the land of change.

An Assisted Death is Not a ‘Good’ Death

Kudos to British PM Gordon Brown for publicly denouncing the call for legalizing assisted suicide:

And the inevitable erosion of trust in the caring professions – if they were in a position to end life – would be to lose something very precious. For when I think of the kind of care Sarah and I saw in our local hospice, where we worked as volunteers, I know in my heart that there is such a thing as a good death.

Is Gordon Brown a closet Pietist? The early Methodists, and others in the Pietist tradition, were known for emphasizing the preparation for one’s death.  They taught that a good and holy life would lend itself to a good and holy death.  Contrary to the fear and denial of our mortality we see everywhere around us (from gym commercials to the increasingly large number of doctor-oriented daytime TV), Christianity at its most faithful has always known that death has no final authority over us.  Insofar as that is true, we leave death to the hands of the one who has promised us that this, “the last enemy,” will be destroyed in due time.

Well, Brown is probably not a Pietist.  He is, after all, the son of a Church of Scotland minister and member of that same church.  Nevertheless, it is nice to see a public affirmation of the “good death” from such a powerful figure.

Check out the full article here.

Scott Brown and (slow) change we can believe in…

The election of Scott Brown to the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat is being seen, and I believe rightly so, as at least a partial referendum on President Obama’s first year.  Obama and his PR machine have chalked up the recent setback – and dwindling approval ratings – to not getting the message across. For a President that is more media-savvy and media-beloved than any in recent memory, this seems ludicrous.  President Obama’s problem is not that people don’t *get* the message – but rather, precisely the opposite.  (How could we not get the message with THIS LEVEL of media exposure??)

Obama was elected on the promise of “hope” in some degree of “change” that he would bring to the White House.  He rode a wave of (especially) youth support to a victory (not a landslide, though) over John McCain.  The Republicans, in my view, rightly paid for many years of not living up to their own beliefs with George W. Bush, especially in fiscal matters – and of course, W’s woeful public persona.  Personally, I liked the man and still do, but his public attributes fit Texas much more than the international scene.

And so, Obama was elected to get us back “on course.”  “The world” was so happy that Americans agreed with them on the Presidency of George W. Bush, that they hurried to give Obama unearned accolades (the dynamite-prize for peace, in particular).  What change would come?

Hard to tell, so far.  The radical, anti-war left has been unhappy with his ratcheting up of the war in Afghanistan.  Many of the young supporters that were so hyped up during the campaign have retreated to their dorm rooms, back to listening to their iPods and watching ghastly excuses for entertainment like ‘Jersey Shore’.  And an attempt at hurrying through sweeping legistation that would dramatically (and permanently!) alter the entire American health care sector has gone, by any measure, less than smoothly.

And now, with Scott Brown’s election, there is chance that it may not work at all.  Why the turnabout?  I think this change in our medical system is, for better or worse, inevitable.  But I fervently believe that the Obama administration has attempted too much, too fast (not unlike W trying to get Social Security “fixed” immediately after his reelection).  Winning roughly 60% of voters to your cause does not give you the mandate, whoever you are, to rush through such major changes.

Obama’s election has woken up a sleeping Right.  Conservatives, unfortunately, tend to criticize better than they govern.  Yes, there are extremes, and they are sometimes deplorable (on both sides).  I believe, though, that we are seeing that Americans are, as is often said, a center-right country.  Being by and large moderately conservative, though, does not mean we are opposed to all change.  Conservatives seek to do precisely that – conserve – not cement.  We believe that a government does its best work when it goes slow.  Incidentally, this is why the Constitution was set up with so many checks and balances, and such flexibility.  Ours is a great system because it is highly adaptable but not in short periods of time.  So, President Obama, perhaps we want your change. It is hard to tell at the moment.  But you can be sure of this: we are in no hurry.  If your program is indeed what’s best for us, take your time with it.  I am not one of your supporters, but I hope that those who are will insist on this: take it slow.

A historical aside:

Why do conservatives prefer slow change? Quite frankly, because we generally trust what is, what is known, what has been practiced and found true, more than what might be preferable around the corner.  Edmund Burke, writing just as the French Revolution was entering its darkest days, wrote the following:

…we think that no discoveries are to be made, in morality; nor many in the great principles of government, nor in the ideas of liberty, which were understood long before we were born, altogether as well as they will be after the grave has heaped its mould upon our presumption, and the silent tomb shall have imposed its law on our pert loquacity.