By Bradley Harrington
“You are entitled to something, the politicians say, simply because it exists and you want or need it — period. You are entitled to be given it by the government. Where does the government get it from? What does the government have to do to private citizens — to their individual rights — to their REAL rights — in order to carry out the promise of showering free services on the people?” — Leonard Peikoff, “Health Care is not a Right,” 1993 —
For anyone who has been laboring under the delusion that our Wyoming delegation are any kind of advocates of free market principles, this story should go far in dispelling such a myth:
“As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on replacing the Affordable Care Act, Wyoming’s sole representative in the chamber [Liz Cheney] said she’s feeling confident in the bill … ‘The overall process is one that I feel very good about,’ Cheney said. ‘I think it does exactly what we need to do in terms of replacing Obamacare with a system that really puts people back in charge.’” (“Rep. Cheney plans to vote in favor of replacing health care law,” WTE, March 22.)
Really, Rep. Cheney? Can we assume, then, that this proposed legislation (which was pulled from consideration before a House vote Friday) eliminates government-imposed restrictions on interstate competition regarding health care?
Um, no … Sorry, that’s not part of this bill.
How about getting rid of “Medicare expansions,” utter disasters in any state that’s been foolish enough to try them? Surely, you — as an alleged “constitutional conservative” — wouldn’t vote for this bill unless it contained that provision?
Um, no … Sorry, but they’re still there, not to be sunsetted until 2020.
Well then, how about repealing the ObamaCare-mandated “essential health benefits,” which force insurance companies into offering certain health services? Can we assume that this plan wipes out such intrusions?
Um, no … I can’t find that anywhere either.
Hmmm … OK, what about getting rid of the requirement that insurance companies must treat pre-existing conditions, one of the worst aspects of the ACA that has driven premiums through the roof these last few years?
Um, no … A search for that comes up with the null set as well.
As for your fellow Wyoming senators, the same story tells us that:
“The legislation also includes measures to stabilize the insurance market. This will provide relief from the damage caused by Obamacare.” (Senator John Barrasso.)
And: “[The House bill is] encouraging and is motivated by the right goals.” (Senator Mike Enzi.)
Senator Barrasso: The best way to “stabilize” the insurance markets would be to eliminate any and all government regulations, outside of the protections and/or adjudications regarding force or fraud, that have done so much to distort those markets in the first place — don’t you think?
And, speaking of the “damage caused by ObamaCare” — most of which is not even addressed in this proposed legislation, as we have seen — how about the damage and distortions inflicted by both state and federal governments for the 75 years prior to the enactment of the ACA foolishness? You know, the damage which created the ACA to begin with? Disasters such as Franklin Roosevelt’s “tax credits” and Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare and Medicaid?
Were any of the three of you to actually advocate free-market principles in health care, such proposals would involve, but not necessarily be limited to:
■ Getting rid of medical licensing requirements, which do little more than stifle competition, restrict medical school attendance and limit the number of doctors;
■ Abolishing Medicare and Medicaid completely, programs which have: (1) Proven to be dangerously more expensive than they were ever “intended” to be (Medicare’s unfunded liabilities are now nearly $30 trillion); (2) distorted free-market forces to the point of their elimination; and (3) created a dependent class of millions of beholden-to-the-government citizen/serfs who have been forced to now rely on government largess for their very survival;
■ Scrapping any and all regulations pertaining to restrictions placed on health-care competition across state lines;
■ Promoting individual-based health care plans instead of employer-based plans by terminating the tax credits for employer-based insurance. This will lift insurance pools from a mere number of “Company X” employees to entire area/regional populations instead, depending on the coverage;
■ Advocating serious tort reform to rein in frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.
Do THIS, Ladies and Gentlemen — and then jump out of the way while the market shifts into overdrive and our health-care problems disappear into the rear-view mirror, never to be seen again.
Instead, all three of you are pushing for the passage of a bill that does little more than guarantee the government’s ossification of what’s left of our health-care system for years — decades — to come. Hardly what I’d call “putting people back in charge.”
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on March 26, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.