Jan 23, 2019

More choice, less reform

The American people need economic security. Forty-six million Americans are uninsured. Costs go up year after year. This is a travesty. We need health care reform, and we need it now.

Sound familiar?

This is the establishment line on health care. And, truth be told, it is a serious problem. According to the National Coalition on Health Care, Americans will spend over $2 trillion on health insurance this year. But the so-called “solution” our congressmen have thought up is just plain wrong.

Before arguing over the merits of a certain bill, one must examine the constitutionality of such a bill. Health care does not pass muster. Article I, Section eight of the United States Constitution gives the Legislative Branch the authority to legislate over 18 areas of human behavior. Advocates of the current health care bill site the Commerce Clause in the Constitution as authorization to pass such a bill.

But does it really? The Commerce Clause states that the Congress shall have the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” But the power to regulate interstate commerce does not mean it is “necessary and proper” to meddle with the health care coverage of the American people (regulate in our founders time meant “to keep regular”).

So according to our Federal Constitution our Congress has no authority to legislate over health care. But who expects our Congress to know the Constitution anyway? (Wait, they swear an oath to it before they’re sworn in? Ay dios mio!)

Regardless of the constitutionality of the bill, does it have merit? Will it be good for the American people? Not exactly. While the bill may not include “death panels” like Sarah Palin says (it seems like she’s getting nuttier with each passing day), it does have many other potentially harmful effects, such as an employer mandate requiring businesses to cover every employee, an individual mandate requiring each and every American to buy health insurance, and the whole public option thing.

What has our government ever done well or efficiently (excepting killing people)? Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt. The US Postal Service is second rate compared to private companies. And, oh yeah, our government is over $11 trillion in debt. That’s $38,000 for every man, woman, and child.

What Americans need is not some utilitarian bill that treats health care as a right for every American as sacred as our right to freedom of speech. We don’t need to make sure that the 46 million who aren’t insured get some kind of plan.

The 46 million statistic is ambiguous anyhow—according to the American Spectator, 9.7 million aren’t citizens, 14 million are eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP but choose not to enroll, 17.6 million make over $50,000, 9.1 million make over $75,000, and 18.3 million are under the age of 34 and probably don’t need it. All told, 8.2 million Americans are legitimately uninsured, says a 2003 Blue Cross Blue Shield study.

What Americans need is more choice. Having the Congress enforce the Commerce Clause by keeping interstate commerce regular would be a good start. The American people should be able to purchase any type of health insurance, wherever it may be.

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