Well, here it is, folks: The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the “individual mandate” provision in the Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare.” As of 2014, all Americans will pay a portion of their taxes to an insurance company of their choice instead of to Uncle Sam (or Uncle will come calling).
Canned consternation from the usual critics on the right, of course — you know, the people who brought you HMOs, Medicare Part D, and RomneyCare, all in the name of “free enterprise.” Forcing you to buy “insurance,” whether for yourself or someone else, is only bad when Democrats or New York’s “Five Families” do it.
In reality, the right should be celebrating CannibalCare … er, ObamaCare. Not only did Republicans lay three decades of its groundwork, not only was the template for the law laid down by none other than GOP presidential Mitt Romney, not only was the deciding SCOTUS vote cast by a George W. Bush appointee, Chief Justice John Roberts, but it’s the ultimate triumph of “privatization.”
Huh? What? Yes, “privatization.”
The federal government’s primary function — like that of all political governments — has always been to extract as much of the wealth you create as possible from your pocket and deposit it in the bank accounts of the politically connected and the privileged wealthy.
Usually this process of extraction and redistribution is accomplished through complex sleights of hand, with lots of talk about “public goods” and “legitimate government functions” intervening between the taking of the money and the handing over of it to “defense” contractors, private prison corporations, companies with friends in the highway construction and repair bureaucracy, and so forth.
Health care “reform” is the current pinnacle of the “privatization” process. They’ve cut out the middleman! Instead of all the smoke and mirrors, you’ll now just pay part of your taxes directly to Kaiser Permanente or Blue Cross Blue Shield. And just as if you had paid those taxes to the government, you’ll get something in return for them … whether you want it or not.
Most people I’ve talked with about CannibalCare … er, ObamaCare … realize that there’s something deeply immoral in the whole concept. But at the same time they despair over ever-increasing health care costs, without ever noticing that those cost increases have been the result of more than a century of successive political interventions, not of anything resembling actual market processes. And more, they don’t realize that those interventions have been created and defended by the “right” as often as by the “left.”
Republican president George W. Bush proposed and signed Medicare Part D. Republican President Ronald Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. Republican president Richard Nixon proposed and signed the Health Maintenance Organizations Act. Scratch a Republican congresscritter and he’ll squeal that he wants to “save” Medicare and “decentralize” Medicaid with “block grants” of your money. Ask him if he’s interested in repealing the laws that give a medieval style guild (the American Medical Association) a monopoly on the provision of medical care, and security will escort you from the premises.
So if you think voting Republican (or any other way) this November is going to get CannibalCare … er, ObamaCare … repealed, think again. Even if the next set of politicians puts on some kind of magic show to convince you otherwise, Democrats and Republicans alike will continue finding ways to move money from your pockets to their friends’ bank accounts. Because that’s what government does. If you want affordable health care, the first step toward it is to abolish the state.
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- Thomas L. Knapp, Render Unto Caesar … er, Kaiser Permanente, Deming, New Mexico Headlight, 07/02/12