Monday, June 15, 2009

Socialized Medicine: A Threat to the Constitution and Responsibility

This morning President Obama gave a speech to the American Medical Association in which he pitched his plan for healthcare reform. The speech is problematic on a number of levels as it makes promises that cannot and will not be kept, it incorrectly diagnoses the problem, and it will not work and cannot be paid for.

The president’s plan is obviously deeply flawed, but these practical troubles are not of main importance to me. If the administration’s plan, actually would work (it won’t)…If it didn’t mean the creating of yet another insolvent government program (it does)…if it were the true and economically beneficial solution to our health care system (it is not), I would still oppose it. Why? Is it that I am a blind partisan or an ignorant and foolish analyst? No. My concern is not merely with the practicalities, partisan makeup, or ideological backing of the issue. My concern, first and foremost, finds its ground in one issue: the president’s plan is unconstitutional.

Nowhere in the Constitution does one find the authority for the government to provide healthcare for the public. In fact, the constitution provides an environment that encourages government out of businesses like healthcare (something that has been neglected and therefore has led to higher costs). So what solution does a constitutionalist believe the Constitution provides for the issue?

The Constitution is a document firmly grounded in the individual—protection for the rights and liberties of the individual, creation of an environment for individual achievement, and also a fostering of individual responsibility. The president’s plan touches on all of these issues. It inhibits the first two and neglects the former.

One might not realize this if he only listened to President Obama’s call for personal responsibility on the parts of individuals and parents early in his speech as he diagnosed the roots of many of our health problems. He neglects, however, that same call for personal responsibility when he calls for the adoption of his healthcare plan.

There is no question that, even in a true market economy, some will always fall beneath the cracks and need assistance when it comes to paying for healthcare. But we must ask, “Whose responsibility is it to pick up this slack?” The answer is individual, and not by compulsorily government pillaging of the taxpayer. Rather, individual charity and concern should provide for those who cannot afford proper healthcare, and this provision should be of one’s own choosing. There is nothing wrong with showing human compassion and charity. In fact, there is something very right about it. But no humanity and no since of right can be found in the forcing of one to meet his own responsibility to help his fellow man through government mandates and through the barrel of a gun. (If you don’t understand what I mean by “barrel of a gun,” refuse to pay your taxes.)

In sum, the Obama plan is the wrong type of change. It is immoral and inhumane because it divorces responsibility from the citizenry and forces the taxpayer into reluctant charity. If we are truly concerned for our fellow man, let us take the responsibility—not pushing it off on others and the government. Most of all, however, we should oppose this government encroachment because it is unconstitutional!

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