Republicans to the Rescue of Evil

On Thursday, September 10, 2009, on the morning after Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on his plan that would further socialize America’s health-care industry, US Representative Charles Boustany (R) for Louisiana’s 7th Congressional District, told Fox News, “Well, if you put tort reform in the bill, and you get the government-run plan out of this bill, then that’s, now we’ve got room for some compromise.” Boustany’s comment is significant because he is the man who delivered the Republican reply to Obama’s address.

On the evening before, Obama’s first specific statement about his plan was this:

Under this plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

At this point, every member of Congress should have shouted “Tyranny!”

It does not matter whether Obama’s health-care proposal contains what Boustany refers to as a “government-run plan.” (Obama refers to the “government-run plan” with the term “public option,” a dishonest euphemism for the use of the coercive power of government to finance and operate an insurance company.) Nor is the main issue that Obama is a brazen liar to claim that his government-run insurance company will have no unfair advantage over private insurance companies. (If Obama’s claim is not a lie, why don’t the government goons who will set up and run “the public option” just go and set up an insurance company privately, without the help of government?) Obama does not need the overt socialism of a “public option” to accelerate the socialization of the health-care industry. He can reach his goal just as well with his more insidious form of socialism: fascism. Socialist tyranny will not need a government-run insurance company when all the private insurance companies are forced to provide the only kind of “insurance” dictated by government.

Metaphysically, the idea behind insurance, and the whole basis for insurance premiums being affordable, is that the unfortunate events being insured against are rare. An insurance company sells insurance to an individual for a low premium because the company thinks it is very unlikely that an unfortunate event will befall that particular individual. Likewise, in order to obtain insurance for a low premium, an individual buys the insurance when an unfortunate event is very unlikely. He cannot expect to buy fire insurance once his house is already on fire from his smoking in bed, or flood insurance once the nearby dam has broken, or health insurance once his smoking has already led to lung cancer. In these cases, a house on fire, a broken dam, and lung cancer are “pre-existing conditions.” “Insurance” under such conditions would not be insurance at all; it would be charity provided by the insurer. Or, if such “insurance” is demanded by government, it is plunder.

Such plundering has been going on for decades. Alongside the overt socialism of Medicare and Medicaid has been the fascism of dictating to insurance companies (as well as to others in the health-care industry). As I have written before, my personal health-insurance premium in New York State in the 1990s increased six-fold in two years. The reason is that the State of New York made it illegal for insurance companies to require a physical exam or any health information at all, and required insurance companies to base their premiums solely on the community of residence of the customer. Thus I, who had always minded my health, was paying for all those with pre-existing conditions of drug and alcohol abuse, AIDS, obesity, smoking, and other things I am too healthy to know about. Now, Obama wants to expand New York State’s policy throughout America.

Under Obama’s plan, as Sally Pipes notes, it would make no sense for one to buy insurance at all until one got sick, since one could never be turned down for a pre-existing condition. Moreover, if the government requires everyone to buy health insurance, then people will buy the cheapest and worst plan—possibly the “public option”—while they are healthy, and then switch to a better plan—probably a private one—once they get sick. The lousy insurance company will make money, and the good insurance company will lose money.

The success of an insurance company depends on the skill of its actuaries and underwriters. The actuaries and underwriters are the scientists and engineers of the insurance industry. They are the ones who assess the risks facing prospective customers and who decide what premium must be asked of each customer in order for the insurance company to be financially sound and profitable. The essential way in which insurance companies innovate and compete is in terms of the ingenuity and skill of their actuaries and underwriters.

Under Obama, all of the judgments of insurance companies’ actuaries and underwriters will go out the window. Obama and his people will decide what an insurance policy must cover, who will get insurance—everybody will—and who will pay how much: people will pay, not on the basis of how healthy they have made themselves and how low-risk they are, but on the basis of how much money the government can squeeze out of them. All the options will be “public options,” even without a government-run insurance company. The only “competition” among private insurance companies will be in terms of how efficiently each company functions as a disburser of government-mandated welfare payments.

Ethically and politically, the idea of insurance rests on the right of liberty, which includes the right of individuals—such as insurers and their customers—to choose their associations by mutual consent. In contrast, Obama’s notion of “insurance” rests on this evil premise: If you have intercourse with some individuals, we can force you to have intercourse with all individuals.

Like the U.S. auto industry, the U.S. insurance industry had already been largely destroyed before Obama came to power. Undoubtedly, many of the most moral and able people in both these industries left long ago for freer industries. This trend, like the trend of higher costs, will only accelerate under Obama’s plan.

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Last week, addressing America’s schoolchildren, Obama preached about “problem-solving” from his socialist perspective: “protect our environment”; “fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair [that is, egalitarian] and more free”; “build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.” He also preached the National Socialist notion of working hard, not primarily for oneself, but for one’s country. Some statements, if considered in isolation, were reasonable: “But whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.” “No one’s born being good at all things. You become good at things through hard work.”

Given his philosophy, though, Obama might have added the following: But if you don’t work hard, or if you don’t ever do a minute of work in your whole life, you will still get as much health care as the hardest worker in America gets. And if you choose to live a very unhealthful life style and get sick all the time, don’t worry. In order to make you healthy again, your country will spend far more on your health care than on the health care of others.

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To all of this evil, the Republican alternative is to remove “the public option.” Not one Republican I have heard has opposed a ban on the consideration of pre-existing conditions. This morning on Fox News, US Sen. Bob Corker, R – Tennessee, said, “Issues like pre-existing conditions being dealt with … we have reached some common ground.”

Even worse, not one Republican I have heard has opposed the evil notion that health care is a right.

Last week, on Fox News Sunday, Republicans Newt Gingrich and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander for Tennessee were guests along with Democrats Howard Dean and John Podesta. Alexander expressed his support for a provision addressing pre-existing conditions. Here is what Alexander opposed:

These 1,000-page bills that try to change complex systems don’t work. … So I think we have to take these things step by step, and the president is the president. He should say, “I’m going to clear the deck. Health care is what we’re going to work on. I’m going to stay on it for as long as I need to to get it done, and here are the four or five things that we can get done, and we can do them in a bipartisan way.”

Gingrich chimed in,

I agree with Senator Alexander from this standpoint. Mrs. Clinton came to see us in 1993, and we gave her our best advice, which is don’t do a comprehensive bill. I said to her at the time, “Do one bill a year for eight years, assuming you get re-elected. After eight bills get through and signed, you’ll have significantly changed the system.” No one can write a single bill.

Thus, Republicans accept in principle Obama’s basic ideas of tyranny over the health-care industry. All they object to is the speed with which the ideas will be made into law.

When Medicare first passed, only 13 Republicans in the Senate voted for it. Today, no Republican opposes Medicare or Medicaid, or the FDA, or the licensing of doctors, or the regulation of the insurance industry. The Republicans too have become socialists in principle. It is the Republicans who lay in wait, if unwittingly, to rescue Obama’s evil health-care plan.

The freedom-loving Americans who attended this weekend’s TEA Parties will have to fight for freedom against Obama, the Democrats, and the Republican Party.

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