By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
—– Original Message —–
Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2009 3:05 PM
Subject: amazing interview…
Hi Tom, Kris and I just saw an amazing interview with Wendell Potter. Brave guy! He is a former top exec with an insurance company. He shows how insurance companies are manipulating the media to fight national health care to keep market shares. You might have to click on his name after the intro to get his complete interview. Hope you can see it!
From: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Sent: Sunday, July 19, 2009 4:02 PM
Subject: amazing interview…
A few videos from the other side of the healthcare debate:
John Stossel on Healthcare:
Woman needing brain surgery:
In summary, Wendell Potter believes that insurance companies were putting company profits before patient care, and believes that the government should take over the role of insurer so that the health care needs of the nation are taken care of more cheaply and people are not excluded from healthcare because they are not profitable as patients.
To begin with, I agree with much of Wendell Potter’s indictment of the insurance companies. Obviously, they are entirely profit driven and try to eliminate people who are unprofitable. They will use any plausible evidence to deny coverage to patients by claiming it was a preexisting condition or falls outside of the terms of the coverage. They will use endless delays and denial of claims to frustrate doctors in an effort to reduce their total amount of reimbursement.
Free Market vs The Current Healthcare System
Our current healthcare system cannot be used as an indictment of how the market delivers healthcare because the Insurance-Healthcare Industry complex looks more like a Government-Healthcare cartel than a free market implementation of healthcare.
Entitlements as the Virus that Destroys National Character:
Before we examine the merits or deficiencies of Government-run healthcare, we should examine some historical background regarding the development of the national psyche which now looks to government for solutions to social and economic problems. The story tightly interweaves with the economic cycles and forces exerted on it by the demands of labor, laws imposed by government, and the changing expectations of the populace.
De-industrialization of America
Health insurance, pension funds, and high wages were demanded and obtained by unions. Their organization and force has been sufficiently effective to force management and owners to raise the contracted wages above the rates offered internationally. The invisible hand of the market has moved and manufacturers have moved their facilities offshore to meet the demand of consumers for lower prices.
We have largely deindustrialized our economy, reduced our productive capacity, and employed international workers to produce for our consumptive pleasure. We have legislated ourselves into a non-competitive position by dropping trade barriers, and have yielded to the pressure of union contracts, and creating an inflexible price for domestic production. We have become a consumer nation instead of being the industrial powerhouse we were at the end of WWII when we produced 50% of the total world’s output. We now consume products manufactured abroad and spend our own energy servicing our needs. It will only be a matter of time until the borrower becomes fully the servant of the lender.
Healthcare as a Right
An examination of the relationship of unions, wages, entitlement mentality, and national productivity are relevant to a discussion of healthcare insurance because healthcare is moving toward being seen as a “right” of every individual. And the delivery of that “right” is increasingly expected as an obligation the society must provide to all.
But, the enforcement of such a “right” adds additional rights to the inalienable right enumerated by the Declaration of Independence, and the specific enumeration of rights associated with the Constitution in the first 10 amendments as the Bill of Rights. In effect, the expectation or legislation of government healthcare rewrites the inalienable rights to include the “guarantee of happiness”.
As a matter of definition, we note that happiness includes all the accessory necessary experiences of life such as house, family, health, job, and wealth. In the Declaration, the inalienable rights included the “pursuit of happiness”, but in the current context of healthcare entitlements, we have moved healthcare into the category of a right that government must provide. In so doing, the individual is removed from personal responsibility to provide for timely and high-quality healthcare.
Thomas Jefferson penned the words of the Declaration:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Jefferson declared the right to “pursue happiness” as inalienable, which implies that God intended all men have this opportunity. This inalienable right was penned in the context of forming a government and its limits. The Founders intended to create a government which would not impede a man in his work toward attaining the object of his happiness.
The pursuit of happiness implies that each man has the responsibility to attain his own happiness, and he should be free to work for it. And as a corollary, he should not expect his neighbor to pay for his happiness. Likewise, he should not purchase more happiness than he can afford.
When government is placed as the agent which enforces the attainment of happiness is an inalienable right, then government can force another person to work, sacrifice, and pay for my needs until my happiness is satisfied. But, such a system is inherently unfair, since all needs of all people cannot be equally satisfied.
In a diverse society, with rich and poor, healthy and unhealthy, intelligent and dumb, gifted and clumsy, no equalization can be applied that will produce common happiness to all men. On the more external levels of happiness, it is possible to apply a patina of equality by taking from the rich, and giving it to the poor as implemented in the progressive taxation system. On the level of wealth, property, and social position, government can ensure equality only by bringing all to a common level of misery.
In the case of government-run healthcare, resources are taken from the healthy and employed and given to the unhealthy and poor. Such enforced wealth redistribution sounds compassionate for the poor, but their gift was not charity, it was coercion.
But, we might ask, “As a Christian and compassionate society, don’t we have an obligation to care for the poor and unhealthy?” And the answer is yes. We should help our brother who is in need. But when help is required at gunpoint and threat of jail, the spirit of giving has been replaced with fear and the force of theft.
The most “high-minded” and “noble” among us may say, “I want to pay the largest part of my income so that I can help those less fortunate and able.” But while such statements sound noble, they are not. Instead, they reflect the naivete of the foolish parent who gives money to his children without asking for work, character, or accountability.
Those who make lifestyle choices that result in medical expense should connect the pain of disease and injury with their choices and actions. But, the current medical, insurance, welfare system disconnects behavior from consequences and allows self-destruction under the plausible rubric of freedom.
Government-administered prohibition has proven unworkable, but we should still engage in the admonition of our friends and family regarding moderation and abstinence as appropriate. Likewise, a community-based prohibition or endorsement of any lifestyle should be the prerogative and obligation of a civilized and interdependent people. And, in a truly mature society, every individual should take his place in supporting others in making excellent lifestyle choices, and living up to the spirit of the community standards.
When public resources are used to pay for self-inflicted diseases and injuries caused by foolish personal choices, a person places himself under the obligation and authority of those who give such aid. When a community pools its resources, such as through insurance, the individual participants in the pool should recognize their obligation to the community to discipline behavior, and be subject to the standards, feedback, and discipline of the community. Rates based on lifestyle risks are a type of accountability.
Those who are truly victims should receive all the help the support system can afford, but we must remember that every system has a limit to its resources. No insurance or charity should be forced, and all gifts should be freely given. But those who neither contribute to the group pool through insurance nor charitable giving, should recognize that they have put themselves under great obligation to those providing medical service and payment. Repayment of healthcare debts should be expected by those who have not engaged in a prior contribution to the pool.
The task of collecting charitable donations should be returned to the churches and community groups. When the giver has a voice in the administration of benefits, the giver is restored to a place of power. When the recipients of aid are subject to rightful accountability, they may learn the lessons of gratitude and responsibility that the receipt of charity demands.
Big government mediated charity usually becomes impersonal and perverse. In such a system, the executive, judicial, legislative, and/or administrative branches choose which classes of unhappiness shall receive assistance at the expense of all others. Giving and receiving entitlements is seductive and addictive for both the recipient and those legislating it. The legislator feels the power of being the giver and benefactor and uses that lever to gain allegiance from those he assists. The recipient of governmental largesse obviously enjoys the unearned benefits and may become dependent upon them. His vote is almost certainly in for perpetual aid and will give that sacred ballot to any politician who promises to initiate or continue the aid.
Government-mediated aid, without the express consent of the taxpaying public, involves legalized theft of property. This was the essence of the “Taxation without representation” revolt of the Revolutionary War of 1776. When stolen money is then used to influence the vote, the sin of bribery compounds the initial insult. Theft and bribery in government are a type of corruption, and within it lie the seeds of a nation’s destruction. When injustice becomes entrenched as national policy, and when personal benefit drives the legislator in his legislation, adjudication, and execution of the law, the nation will be guided into various forms of economic, social, and international disaster. Eventually, the distorted and inequitable administration of finances, social policy, defense, and justice will fracture the structure of society and economy. In time, the people or God will overthrow the unrighteous government. In the meantime, the people suffer.
Entitlements are simply a type of wealth redistribution endorsed by Marxist communal theory. They are a method used to equalize the classes and move the people toward a worker’s paradise. But, the effort to create a utopia through equalization is futile because class distinction is inherent within the basic structure of the human physiology and psychology. People will always express differences in motivation, vision, and talent. The Marxist philosophy promises a better world when the inequities of the owners and workers are eliminated. When all men are brought to the place of equality, all needs are met, the drive for advancement and possessions will lose their power to motivate. Thus, the base human motives that drive crime and unsocial behavior will have no appeal.
The Marxist philosophy does not appreciate the fact that various types of effort produce gradients in value. To mandate that all should work and receive compensation, “each according to his ability, and each according to his need” removes the human incentive to the achievement of happiness through labor and personal striving. In such a system, the workers are motivated by the humanitarian drive to serve the common good.
In the Marxist system, the principle of government allowing each man the right to “pursuit of happiness” is abridged. In this system, the only method of raising his personal happiness is the elevation of the welfare of the entire population prior to experiencing benefit to his own life.
As stated, society should never attempt to create equality by dictating how much wealth an individual may create and control. But, we can minimize the bitterness and teeth of the class struggle by increasing the size of the economic pie. When the world is more prosperous, more productive of goods and services, the rich and talented can do their work and gain control of fabulous wealth without requiring a life of miserable squalor to accommodate the princely lifestyle of the upper class. In a world of plenty, the poor can work at a productive trade and acquire the necessary amenities without undue sacrifice. In such a state of middle-class adequacy, only modest sacrifice of consumption is required by each in the pooling of resources via healthcare insurance.
When people say, “I don’t want to buy insurance,” they are basically saying they don’t have enough money to buy all the things they want, and they are unwilling to sacrifice the increment of consumption that buying insurance would require. But, in a world of true plenty and prosperity, the “adequate” satisfaction of material needs should be common.
Note: adequate satisfaction is totally subjective, and there is no line where the human heart is satisfied. Thus, the concept of “adequate” must become part of the public debate. The society must establish a widely held general sense of what is “enough” in the realm of material basics and amenities?
When that level of basic needs and amenities has been achieved, the individual should focus on devoting resources to saving and other important contingency preparations. In particular, every citizen should contribute to the general pool of resources to provide for the medical help needed to save life and limb in time of trauma or medical emergency. Such preparation should be an expected civic duty. This is part of good citizenship. Every person should be contributing resources toward covering one’s own extreme healthcare contingencies such as trauma, degenerative disease, and end of life care. The small medical expenses should be handled through a Medical Savings Account (MSA) so that people have the resources to simply pay for the medical they need for the acute conditions that arise.
A good citizen should not impose required charity on the community. Rather, each citizen should freely choose to pay a modest amount into the insurance pool. The amount paid should be an easily affordable sacrifice for every man who works in gainful and valuable employment.
Commentary Healthcare as a “Right”
The interview with Wendell Potter used the assumption that healthcare is a right as a primary underlying point in his argument in favor of government-run healthcare. This point was never stated overtly. His argument against insurance-based healthcare was framed as an indictment of them. He spoke in pejorative terms about the insurance companies who were motivated by profit for stockholders and executive benefits. He then compared the profit-driven insurance companies with the patient-centered, “cheaper”, “fairer”, “proven” system of government-run healthcare.
Having only presented these two alternatives as possible healthcare solutions, the case is then made using various types of evidence that government-run healthcare is better than insurance-based healthcare.
The claim against insurance-based healthcare includes:
Insurance companies are motivated by profit only, and deliver care only to those with money, and that person with high needs are eliminated from the roles:
The evidence for this claim includes:
A public clinic put on by insurance companies North Carolina was done in tents with no privacy for patients being examined.
He was getting a corporate jet and gold-rimmed plate treatment and the patients were getting treated in tents. This shows how the insurance companies are motivated by profits for investors and benefits for the corporate executives who direct the policies that ensure those profits are delivered.
The insurance companies engaged in a campaign to prejudice patients against government-run healthcare in 1994, which shows how they are self-interested, and will twist the truth to prejudice the electorate rather than providing real valid arguments for the benefits of the insurance-based system.
The claim for government-run healthcare includes:
Government run healthcare is more efficiently delivered, no one is excluded, and it is cheaper.
The evidence for the claim includes:
Interviews from Michael Moore’s movie, “Sicko” showed patients in waiting room in Cuba saying how they didn’t pay, didn’t wait long, had their needs met, and were satisfied.
He states that Canada, England, Cuba, and other countries have government care and they like it.
He states that healthcare is not in the same category of commodity as other items of commerce. Therefore, the free market should not be used to set the price and make healthcare available, or not, to patients needing care. Rather, it should be given out of compassion and administered through taxes and bureaucracy since that way, no one will be denied their basic right to health care.
The problems with government-run healthcare and insurance-based healthcare are both sufficiently great that the immediate response should be that we begin to look for alternative solutions to both of these systems.
Indictments against Insurance-Based healthcare:
One of the strongest arguments used in the interview to convince the listener against the morality of the insurance-based system is the declaration that the government-run system does not eliminate patients in high need of healthcare. The implication of this statement is that all patients, with all needs, regardless of severity, will be included and treated by the government-based system. It must be stated right up front that this is currently an impossibility. The diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for the terminally ill, genetically defective, and traumatically injured will be limited.
The insurance-based system is impugned because it limits care by various covert mechanisms, which include denial of claims and rejection of high risk patients. This is a rationing of one type. The government will ration in another way. The problem is unlimited medical needs, and limited medical resources.
The argument for government healthcare is presented as being cheaper. He argues that healthcare is an area of commerce that should not be subject to the selection pressures of the free market because it is so closely connected to the issues of human dignity. And, he is right. The market is brutal in its selection based on profitability. The problem is that the government-run plan will base its decision on who gets and does not get healthcare on administrative summary judgment. People will be denied care of various types, including denial of treatment because of age and benefit to society. Thus, the dignity of humanity will be no higher; it will be reduced to a measure somewhat akin to a man’s utility as the governing factor.
Wendell Potter impugns the insurance companies with base motivations driving their decisions for their criticism of the government-run healthcare. In particular, he accused them of unfairly, untruthfully, and in a self-serving manner, labeling the government-plan with pejorative terms such as “socialized medicine” (which it is) out of a cold strategy to keep their profit-engine running by keeping government from “competing” with them.
Note: It is not possible for private system to compete with the government system when provisions of the plan prohibit renewing the plan if there are any changes in the plan. In other words, it does not appear that the government plan is about creating competition, or delivering care to all people. Rather, it appears that there is an underlying motivation to create a full government-controlled system. And, this in turn appears to be motivated by a desire to have the ability to have in place legally authorized tools of societal control.
The real purpose of Government-run healthcare: As a tool for Socialism:
Wendell Potter attempts to discredit the criticism of government-run healthcare for being a stepping stone toward socialism by impugning the motives of the insurance executives and their media strategy to discredit the “competition” from the government.
Still, the evidence is too strong for the truth of this claim, even if the insurance companies are using it as a tool to maintain their existence. The surrounding governmental context of this rush to government-run healthcare gives us evidence for the claim that that purpose of the government run healthcare system is not about healthcare, but about establishing the tools for societal control.
This expectation of healthcare being a “right” came to full birth in the public consciousness with FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights” as he spoke them in his 1944 State of the Union address:
“The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation; to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living; of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad; of every family to a decent home; to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; to a good education. Franklin D. Roosevelt, “State of the Union Message to Congress, January 11, 1944” http:www.fdrlibraymarist.edu/011144.html
65 years later, this thinking has become so pervasive, and commonly accepted wisdom about the nature of government’s role, that we no longer question it, and make little distinction between the “Second Bill of Rights”, and the actual Bill of Rights of our Constitution. The Constitution includes life liberty and the pursuit of happiness as among the inalienable rights. And, our original Bill of Rights also includes religion, speech, peaceable assembly, habeas corpus, bearing arms, press, speedy trial, no self-incrimination, and equal protection.
The Second Bill of Rights with its declaration of a right to a job, housing, healthcare, education, and a living wage are all noble and humanitarian concepts. But, they are not part of the concepts of the fundamental rights that government should ensure and demand that each citizen enjoys. These excellent ideals for society are not inalienable rights, they are goals that we must together seek to accomplish by personal work and teamwork. They are the rewards of a life lived well. They are not assured simply because we are born. They are the actual tokens and issues of life that we must each struggle to attain. They are the trophies of victory.
But, this does not mean that government should not be involved with these issues in any way. The 10th Amendment allows for State, County, and Community government involvement in any of these areas, but it prohibits the Federal government involvement in them. The Founders wisely chose to prohibit the Federal government, the most distant and high-level governing body, from regulating behavior that should be left to the most local and individual consideration.
The provisions of the declaration of a 2nd Bill of Rights sound like Christian principles, such as brother providing for brother, and feeding widows and orphans. Obviously, these are issues that every person wishes to have handled, but resolving these life challenges requires a deeper process than legislating equality.
The desirability of each of these personal benefits in the 2nd Bill of Rights has motivated men to find plausible legal justification for the Federal government intervening in these arenas of life. One of the now-common arguments used to allow the legal reasoning to proceed is the appeal to the regulation of commerce. Those committed to regulating all aspects of life have assembled the various judicial, legislative, and administrative precedents, arguments by experts, and appeals to humanity to give the Federal government the apparent Constitutional basis for justifying intervention in every area of economic and political life.
But, this type of increase in Federal authority to intervene in the life of the individual is exactly the type of encroachment into individual liberty that the Founders were attempting the prevent. They attempted to create a limited Federal government, and one with checks and balances so that no single branch of government could rise to the level of an oligarchy.
The effect of implementing the principles of this 2nd Bill of Rights has been the embedding of the entitlement mentality. In turn, one of the effects has been a seduction of Congress to spend more money than it takes in taxes to meet the demands of their constituents. This in turn results in raising the National Debt, which is a problem because it expands the money supply without corresponding production. And, the inevitable result of more money without an increase in consumable value is inflation.
Politicians have fallen into the trap of buying votes by legislating expenditures from the larger public to benefit constituents in their local areas of representation. This is a transfer of wealth without the permission of those who have produced the wealth. The more blunt description of such transfer, is theft. The government has become comfortable with the process of stealing from the man who has produced much, and giving it to the man who has produced little. And, the moral justification underlying this transfer is compassion for the suffering of the less fortunate. God smiles upon generosity to the poor and widows, but forced charity is not charity, it is theft. People who have agreed to pool their resources to provide for the poor should be encouraged to do so, and the most reasonable point of such contact, collection of funds, and their disbursement, should be the Church. The Church provides a screening point, a place of accountability, and a unit of group activity that is adequately large to have the resources to provide for significant needs.
My recent essays on the Federal Reserve System, Fractional Reserve Banking, and Limited Government tie into this discussion. I’ve been challenged and informed in my thinking by debate and discussion one of my UCLA friends, John, who is a Libertarian, my Free Market friend Charles, Margo, who is extremely well read and interested in Constitutional issues, and a perspective from the Left from my friends Jonathan and Stephen. I have engaged in my own study of Christian theology, and the philosophy of Western thought which has given me a good idea of the spectrum of the problems and solutions considered throughout history. As a result of my thoughts, I have come to my own synthesis regarding the solutions to resolve the problems of the Free Market, Constitutionality, and the place of God in public life. I have come to call my position the philosophy of the Constitutional Christian Republic.
Libertarianism, with its free market expression of capitalism, allows men of good will to pursue their needs without the interference of government. In an environment of such freedom, men are more motivated to produce, than under the burdens of stringent regulations and taxation. But, there is a place for government in the regulation and organization of human commerce, but those regulations should be tailored to the local environment. In the Bible, God recommended a system of Judges rather than kings. Society works best when we have God as our King; or as in the slogan of the Revolutionary War, “No King but King Jesus.”
All public and private behavior should be self-regulated to comply with the highest standards of Godly personal and interpersonal behavior. When each individual righteously regulates his passions, thoughts, speech, and actions, he fits easily into the organization of large projects with other men of like mind. Local to State government may dictate the principles of righteous behavior in each locality as long as it does not interfere with the overarching principles of the inalienable rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The perfection of the organization among men does not come to fruition until the millennial reign of Christ, but we are to work for these good and Godly goals regardless of the difficulty or hopelessness of the task.
There is a proper balance between the poles of total free market organization of the Libertarian and the total government regulation of all areas of life as advocated by the Socialist. The limited authority given to government by the Constitution is adequate to provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and preserve the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. The 10th Amendment provides for the aggregation of the states to collaborate in projects, such as Space Exploration and Interstate Highway System. The state, counties, and communities should be the agents that administer education, healthcare, abortion legislation, and defining moral limits, etc. But, the Federal Government has breeched its boundaries of Constitutional authority using various plausible pretexts, such as regulation of interstate commerce, to authorize the meddling in the private affairs of men.
The entitlement concept, or a “right” to a job, healthcare, housing, and education at government expense, is an entirely unconstitutional concept and has no place in the Federal Government. All such projects should be done on the State level. The Federal government’s authority to legislate in these areas was only given the color of Constitutionality by a ruling of the Supreme Court that FDR stacked with judges favorable to his will. It would not have. and does not stand up to, the test of Constitutionality.
Since that time we have seen an ever more powerful and invasive Federal Government. At this time we can now plausibly envision a true universal Socialism being imposed upon us within a reasonably short period (compared to the length of men’s lives). There are numerous fronts where Socialism is advancing either by the conscious intent and manipulation of a conspiracy International Socialists, Bankers, Power Elite, Intelligentsia, Inner Circle, or Secret Societies, or the misguided idealism of the masses bumbling toward an ideal.
Some of the programs moving us toward the complete a socialization of the economy and government are: 1) the various programs enacted in response to the “Great Recession”, in order to “achieve economic recovery”, Takeover of GM by government and the unions, funding of ACORN with $4 billion, requiring State cooperation in return for Federal Aid, 2) Establishment of a government run healthcare system which can direct every aspect of men’s lives under the pretense of health and economy, 3) The reduction of the use of fossil fuels before a commensurate increase in the production of alternative energy, in the name of saving the planet from “Global Warming”, 4) Environmental protection and Endangered Species Act, allows for the usurpation of private property and control of enterprise. Note: that all of these interventions in the affairs of men were done with a plausibly noble goal, but the aggregate effect has been a large advancement of the effective socialization of America. This does not prove intent, it merely proves that the effect is proceeding rapidly toward an ultimate conclusion.
(Aside: The “Great Recession” was due to the Federal Government requirement of the banking industry to engage in sub prime mortgages. It started with Jimmy Carter and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), to counter a policy called “Redlining”. It was eventually given teeth years later when legislation was enacted that required compliance with the CRA under penalty of preventing bank mergers and expansion. Redlining referred to the practice of lending less to residents in low income, minority populated parts of the city which were outlined in red pencil. There were accusations of racial discrimination driving this practice, when in fact the discrimination was based on ineligibility for a loan based on income.
There may have been an element of social engineering involved in this measure also, in trying to reinvigorate the inner city by instilling pride by giving people ownership, instead of the sense of confinement in a prison system that may come from living in barrack-line housing. This intervention was not effective, because the cause of slums and poverty is poor work habits, lack of respect for property, and the disintegration of the nuclear family. Artificially bestowing home ownership on poor people does not consistently change social behavior and economic performance.
Rather than addressing the root moral problems of poverty, the government tried to go to a high-level solution by just giving people homes through loans. The banking industry would normally not have loaned money for housing to people with marginal income. The legislation was based on the concept that if people owned their homes, that the pride of ownership would inspire excellent caring behavior toward their home, instead of the self-destruction they inflicted on the “projects.”
The theory was enacted into law, and people moved out of the ghetto into private ownership. But, this “free market solution”, was actually a disguised form of socialism (industry directed by government). It directed the banking industry to engage in unprofitable and excessively risky loans. When the interest rates rose from 1% to 5.25% in 2003, the economy contracted, and people on the margins began to lose their hold on the loans they had made. And, when prices rose to $140/barrel, the economy contracted strongly. Sufficient loans failed to precipitate the credit crisis.
The invisible hand of the market operates best when the hand of God moves in the market. And, government opposes God when it passes laws that violate the natural laws of right relationship. Government intervention with laws will always affect the forces operating in the market. The purpose of such intervention is meant to correct and oppose the natural tendencies of men to selfishness, theft, unfair advantage, toxic effect, and other violations of the space and person of others in the realm of commerce and life. And, if such laws are right, just, and wise, then government serves the function of the wise counselor, guide, and father. But, when government legislates foolishness, the people suffer.
The extreme Libertarian argues that there is no good function for government because the choices that government makes are consistently foolish, shortsighted, and all the functions that government could perform, and are better performed, by the natural feedback mechanisms of the market. But, in the Constitutional Christian Republic, the goal is to produce a self-regulated individual, local government based upon local needs, and federal government ensuring that the most fundamental of all rights were honored and allowed by all the localities within the federation.
In the case of the Federal government requiring the bankers to make loans to poorly qualified buyers, this was a case of the Federal government exceeding its realm of authority. The free market would have never engaged in such risky loans. The rise in the prime and the dramatic rise in the price of oil pushed people on the edge of economic sufficiency below the line, and loans defaulted. The loans had been widely spread throughout the world as repackaged Collateralized Debt Obligations and Mortgage Backed Securities, and when the short term loans defaulted for daily transactions, faith in the performance of all debt came into question, and the credit industry froze worldwide because of lack of trust that loans of any type would be repaid.
The entire economic collapse was caused by foolish government policy. The manipulation of the market in an attempt to legislate home ownership produced the “Great Recession”. But, little media attention has focused upon the government mediated cause of the collapse. Rather, out of ignorance, unthinking bias, or purposeful intent, the media has directed its attention at the greedy capitalists who were making money on Mortgage Backed Securities and Collateralized Debt Obligations. They have impugned the greed and excess of capitalism and the market for the failure of the financial system. They have used this as evidence of the need for more government regulation. When in actuality, these new financial instruments were actually just repackaging flawed financial assets that the government had required the financial industry to create.)
The consideration of government intervention ties closely with the issues of money and the free market. The resolution of these issues lies in coming to a proper understanding of the place government should have in the redistribution of wealth. In short, the Federal government should have NO role in the redistribution of wealth.
As a Christian Nation, we should have a Christian based moral system, which guides and directs our economic activities, legislative policies, and judgment of law. But, it is not the government that should be the agent that directs charity. Our current government has had the philosophy that we should create a nation where all Second Bill of Rights goals should be legislated and implemented by taking money (credit for consumption) from the most productive, and giving it/redistributing it to the less productive. Such a method creates a nation of mediocrity.
A better way to meet the needs of the poor is to increase the output of the productive engine of our nation and the world. If there were more consumable produced then it would be possible to raise the living standard of the poor in our nation and the world. The wealth of the rich is of insufficient magnitude to bring the poor to even modest affluence. In fact, most of the wealth of the rich is held only in potential wealth, as the engine and machines of production. Thus, the key to meeting the needs of the world is creating a world filling with adequate consumable value so that the Second Bill of Rights can be accomplished. The key to expanding that productive engine will be the application of energy, automation, and a righteous moral respect of property. But, government is not the appropriate medium through which this increased prosperity will come. Government should only provide the framework for prospering and multiplying of individual efforts by providing the medium of growth.
There appear to be large forces operating to bring America into socialism, and the healthcare issue is only one of many fronts on which the battle to gain control of the American economy. I believe the healthcare initiative is more about social engineering than providing excellent health care. After having said that, all other comments are just evidence that support or detract from that theory.
Statements have been made that healthcare will not be rationed under government care, but as stated above, healthcare is a finite productive resource, and it must be rationed either by price or command. Regardless of the method, there will be limitations on treatment for expensive diagnosis and treatments. The old will not be given the cancer treatments, heart and liver transplants, joint replacements, and expensive drugs, and the doctors will receive less compensation. All the cost savings will not come from making it a profitless system. There will still be huge bureaucracies, executives, and claims examiners.
Wendell Potter claimed the insurance industry uses advocates of the free market to condemn the socialized health care system and implied this was a purely profit motivated ploy to keep people from getting low cost, equal access, unrationed service. As such, he placed all statements that criticized the government-run healthcare system as self-serving, and to be seen only in the light of a biased self-serving advocacy of an inefficient system.
He characterized the free market version of health care as expensive and manipulated by the insurance companies, and probably also by big pharma, hospitals, medical associations, etc. And, that their only loyalty was to the dividends of investors and continuing of the excessive executive bonuses. He characterized the insurance companies as being so callous in their dedication to profits that they were willing to cast off patients to be totally uninsured so as to insure their profitability. His primary appeal was our repulsion at the greed of the insurance companies who were dedicated to turning a profit at the expense of the public.
And these are all plausible reasons to suspect the insurance companies and to react against them. But, there is no ideal solution in either government or insurance run healthcare. Instead, we need a Biblical approach to solving the problems of the individual caring for himself and those who cannot care for themselves.
The Bible declares that those who do not work should not eat. Likewise, it says that the true religion is caring for widows and orphans. Every person should do whatever little work he can do, even if it is just keeping your body alive and well. But, the fact of one man’s sickness does not obligate the community to care for or rescue him. Such charity should be administered voluntarily. For those who cannot take care of themselves, the family and community should voluntarily contribute to the welfare of such debilitated persons.
But, the primary method of patient care should be right living, which in general is embodied in the principles of the naturopathic lifestyle. The government should not support without condition people who have destroyed their health by immoderate living. In general, such a lifestyle is a type of suicide by excessive pleasure, sloth, or depression. Life is good, and people should be counseled to live long and well by family, friends, and the community.
When the counsel of the village has been ignored, and a man has degraded his body function by intemperate lifestyle, it is appropriate that there should be a cost paid for the violation against the body. One of the payments should be serving as a public model for such immoderation. In other words, public education in healthy living should be part of the community’s program for illness prevention. There should be an actual commitment on the part of the community to prevent additional sickness by other members of the community. Every person should do their very best to maintain their personal health.
But, there are many scenarios where cause and negligence cannot be defined. Thus, each case must be evaluated on its own merits. In some cases, payment in full by the individual is appropriate, given the responsibility he had in creating the damage to his body.
The issue of the group supporting the ailing individual never leaves. The debilitated man may be unable to care for himself, and the choice of casting him aside to die or suffer without support pulls against our sense of humanity. Thus, the two systems, insurance, and government are commonly presented as the two possible solutions to providing heroic intervention and care in the case of catastrophic need. And, certainly, both of these options are capable of spreading the cost for such care to more modest levels among a larger population. But, neither provides an optimum solution because they each have their own dehumanizing, rationing, and unfair aspects to the delivery of such systems.
An alternate solution may be Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs). In such a system, every person, throughout his life could save and invest in a security that could be redeemed to pay for his, his family’s, or friend’s healthcare needs. Of course, such a solution would be only reasonable if every person had a sufficient income to comfortably save and sacrifice current consumption for future contingency. It is for this reason that we again turn to the issue of increasing the productivity of the nation and world. When every person has a good income, putting aside a portion of one’s production for savings is possible. But, until that time, the only viable alternative for the poor, besides insurance and government, is charity. And, such was the method of community care of the needy until taxes became so high that charity was no longer affordable. The entry of government into this arena gradually produced the general expectation of government delivering all manner of health and welfare support to the needy. And in the process, a new social tradition was established. The facto socialistic solution to a difficult collective problem gave rise to the generalized acceptance and implementation government managed community programs.
Handling Specific Healthcare Circumstances:
Healthcare throughout has many facets throughout life including pregnancy/pre-birth, neonatal, infancy, childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, acute care, trauma, chronic degenerative disease, geriatric care, and end of life care. Likewise, there are many circumstances of life that must be considered such as, criminals, the poor, the uninsured, chronic and acute self-inflicted debility, chronic pain, those who want to die early, and those who want to never die. Each situation has its is own moral dilemmas that demand a unique resolution. Some of the conditions that must be met include:
Criminals and healthcare:
When a man is injured in the process of doing illegal or harmful activities he has placed himself under the authority of the State and its laws. The law is by its very nature a set of moral guidelines, which reflect an underlying moral system. As a Christian Constitutional Republic, we use the Biblical framework as our guideline for developing the legal system. Thus, when a man crosses the boundaries of the legal system, he has put himself under the authority of that system and has yielded his right to think, speak, and act according to the dictates of his conscience. In other words, until he confesses and repents of his crime, the rehabilitation and reentry into society is incomplete. Thus, in addition to healing his body, which was damaged in the course of his own criminality, his spirit/soul must become penitent. No priest, teacher, or legal authority can change a man’s mind until he changes it himself.
If a community chooses the Bible, and Christian teaching/philosophy/moral code as its standard of legal and social condition, that community has the right to require a criminal to be exposed to the teaching of the Bible and training in the moral foundations of Christianity during his time of incarceration. Such teaching provides the reasons for moral limits. Developing a personal will and inner commitment to behaving in straight paths is necessary for a man to function autonomously, unsupervised, and with trust in a free society.
Such a system would be funded by the State, County, and/or Local taxes to administer such a program. And, because of the fact of the local citizens sacrificing their labor for the welfare of another citizen, the person receiving the gift was in debt to the giver. If the community wishes to place penitence as a condition for release from incarceration, the community has every right to establish such conditions. Communities and local/state ordinances are the laboratories of social experiment, and individuals can choose to move in or out of those communities, depending on the tone of life established by each local. Likewise, each locale has the right to establish its own set of rules.
And, if we are to If they repent, change their ways, they could be responsible to the people who are supporting their healing for their lifestyle.
Victims of Trauma and Crime:
How should those be funded and treated who are uninsured, poor, old and helpless, and need catastrophic medical intervention? The Bible refers to wise men seeing the coming storm and preparing for calamity, which metaphorically sets the standard of the ideal life in preparation for disaster.
Establishing a Medical Savings Accounts should be the first line of defense against healthcare disaster for everyone. Having your own resources gives you choice. When a person uses his own resources, there is no obligation to another party in terms of compromises. Resources equal freedom. And the opposing situation is also true, when a man is receiving charity, he is the taker and subject to the limits and conditions of the giver. This is immortalized in the common wisdom, “Beggars can’t be choosers.”
This again is an issue for the community to decide. How should payment for catastrophic care be handled? The community could require that all residents establish and fund their own Medical Savings account. The community could establish a health care tax that would fund care for those who had no catastrophic care insurance, and exempted those who had their own tax policy. People would choose the more cost effective and serviceable solution, either the privately funded policy or the government established tax system, depending on tastes. Each system would have its own conditions and limits on benefits.
Ideally, the poor should be cared for by the Church, and other charitable institutions. The church provides for a place of accountability, fellowship, and caring support. Charity should naturally be delivered by the institutions of secular and sacred nonprofit institutions. Those who do not participate in the church can appeal to the secular charitable agencies. Likewise, those who so desire may appeal to the church for charity, but the natural obligation would be to come under the authority and instruction of the church. Thus, the church should be given free rein to support and witness to the homeless, criminal, sick, and elderly.
Thus, the care of those who have resources, and are victims of trauma or accidents will be supported by their own work, and a catastrophic or government policy. The terms of the limits of care, and the amount of care, that will be the sole discretionary policy of those who give.
In the case of the criminal or accidental injury, there should likewise be support given by those who were responsible for their debility. The insurance and MSA of the criminal or person causing the accident should be used to support the process of healing and rehabilitation.
Government as Judge of Live and Death: The ultimate rationing
One of the largest considerations against government-run healthcare is the fact that the socialization of Health Care will put government in control of who lives and dies. The move, “Sicko” presented the Canadian and Cuban system as having little waiting lines, adequate care, and an efficient single payer.
But, the changing from private to socialized medicine cannot change the fact that resources of medicine are limited. Everyone cannot be given all the care they want for every medical complaint. The basic law of economics states that people have, “Unlimited wants and limited resources.” Thus, healthcare will either be rationed by price or command. In a free market system, the price of healthcare, just like any other commodity, will adjust its price to balance consumption and production. Increased price will reduce demand and reduced price will increase demand. If price is removed from the allocation system, the result of the unlimited demand for healthcare (disease care) will be rationing by selection and decision. The economic engine is not large enough to let everyone have all the doctor visits, tests, and treatments that they might want to resolve every pain and debility.
Government decisions will moderate the flow of supply and demand in the socialized medicine system, just as price performs the rationing in the free market system. Currently, the poor are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, and the working class is covered by employee plans. This leaves a few in the middle who are self-employed or have modest paying jobs who are not covered by the current insurance system. The working poor and those who have chosen to take a risk, are being presented as the problem that must be solved by mposing socialized medicine on the nation.
The Wendell Potter interview imputed greedy capitalistic motives to the insurance industry, and this would be true. But we could look at the other side and note the power hungry, mob-like behavior of the socialist Obama machine. This is the same group that has enacted more socialist legislation in a shorter time than any other administration since the New Deal. The character, speech, and actions of the Obama administration brings one to suspect the likely motive behind the sudden rush to bring medicine under government control is a socialist, globalist, non-Christian moral-politico-economic agenda.
The health care system will likely be the means of enforcing population control, abortion, birth restrictions, euthanasia and eugenics upon us. I see the seeds of the New Deal socialism planted by FDR coming to full fruition.
I believe the promise of unlimited care for everyone, and providing an appropriate salary for doctors is unrealistic. A layer of profit will be eliminated as the intermediary 3rd party payer is centralized, but typically the bureaucratic inefficiency of government administered programs will undoubtedly reduce the purported savings.
The insurance system as it currently stands is accurately described by Wendell Potter, but that fact does not provide adequate evidentiary validation for the conclusion that government care is the appropriate or best alternate solution.
The current cost of Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and social security is the single largest budget expenditure after Defense expenditures. And, this will rise when we place 1/7th of the total economy totally as a taxpayer-financed service.
The healthcare system is actually a disease care system with little provision for prevention. Governmental systems are largely about maintaining and administrating according to a mandate of law. There can be innovations in programs charged with innovation, such as NASA, but the government is talking about simply administering the current paradigm, rather than replacing a broken disease care paradigm with an actual wellness system. Thus, it will most likely be only a system of maintaining sick patients as consumers of drugs, tests and consults for never-ending problems. The status quo, once established in government tends to self perpetuate to maintain its survival. This is unlikely to change without a government mandates to apply curative alternative care, which the current administration seems unlikely to promote.
People will probably see the reality of the full experience of government-run health care too late, and the momentum of an established bureaucracy is difficult to extinguish. As the socialist conversion of the society nears completion, we will slump into the mediocrity of a socialist malaise, and find ourselves part of the machine of the Brave New World, watched and managed by Big Brother. They want to take our guns and make us defenseless, and take our religion, and force us to bow to the mandates of the State Plan. The intend to neuter us, retrain us, and teach our children the doctrine of worship of and dependence on the state.
If the media wanted to actually be involved and do something valuable, they should do public service announcements informing people about right living, avoiding sugar, caffeine, alcohol, marijuana, preservatives, herbicides, the dangers of mercury amalgam fillings, fluoride in the water supply, fast food, and sedentary living. This problem will never go away until people choose a healthy lifestyle.
People should take responsibility for their own health care, and if they get sick they should look for the cause and correct it. The heroic interventions such as major surgery and transplants are occasionally wonderful lifesaving procedures. But, such procedures should be a choice of the community surrounding a person, rather than the obligation of all of society.
Medical Savings Accounts should follow every citizen his whole life, allowing him to save as much as he wants for the contingencies of healthcare. He should band together with a community and/or church to spread the burden of a major intervention if necessary. And above all, he should pursue the behaviors of wellness, good relationships, excellence in education, and high standards in moral regulation of self.