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Thursday, September 10, 2009

How The GOP Should Have Responded to Obama's Health Care Speech

Alex Epstein's post, The health care speech: a moral Obamination, is exactly how the GOP should have responded to Obama's health care speech. Quoting Epstein:

President Obama defended his latest health care plan—yet another sprawling mass of dictates, mandates, prohibitions, and subsidies—as not only economically practical but above all moral. Quoting the late Senator Kennedy, he said: “What we face, is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”

The President and the Senator are right about one thing: health care is above all a moral issue. Unfortunately, the ‘social justice’ morality behind universal health care is utterly un-American and destructive.
This short, concise post offers an essentialized refutation of socialized medicine and provides a simple and powerful response to Obama's monstrous plan.

A proper response is crucial since it will determine the outcome of this battle. Pointing to the impracticality and destructiveness of socialized medicine is important, but it is not enough. People will continue to support socialized medicine if they think it is just, so the GOP must challenge Obama's view of justice, i.e., they must challenge the morality of altruism and collectivism. Defenders of freedom and individual rights can win if they mount a vigorous, principled campaign against socialized medicine based on the premise that freedom is moral and government controls are immoral. On the other hand, if the GOP concedes the moral premise that government should have any role in health care (other than dismantling regulations and restoring a free market), then the party that consistently offers the most control will win since, in effect, they offer the most "justice." In that case, the Democrats, as usual, will drag the Republicans kicking and screaming down the path towards more statism and tyranny.

So what did the GOP have to say? Rep. Charles Boustany offers the GOP response to Obama [HT: Ari Armstrong] which consisted of a milquetoast call for compromise and appeasement or a "targeted approach" based on "common sense reforms." Quoting Boustany:

We can do better, with a targeted approach that tackles the biggest problems. Here are four important areas where we can agree, right now:

One, all individuals should have access to coverage, regardless of preexisting conditions.

Two, individuals, small businesses and other groups should be able to join together to get health insurance at lower prices, the same way large businesses and labor unions do.

Three, we can provide assistance to those who still cannot access a doctor.

And, four, insurers should be able to offer incentives for wellness care and prevention — something particularly important to me. I operated on too many people who could have avoided surgery if they'd simply made healthier choices earlier in life.

Besides the ridiculous contention that "all individuals should have access to coverage, regardless of preexisting conditions", a policy I debunked here, he concedes that the government should "provide assistance to those who still cannot access a doctor" [emphasis added], i.e., to those who can not pay for it. What if I can not "access" a hamburger, a stereo, or a massage? Should someone else be forced to provide me "access"?

Nowhere does he challenge the premise of government intervention in the health care market in principle. Nowhere does he acknowledge the individual's right to freely and voluntarily contract with doctors or insurance companies. Nowhere does he acknowledge a doctor's right to his own life and the right to freely determine under what terms he chooses to work. Nowhere does he challenge Obama's policy of initiating force against individuals and doctors to prohibit, mandate, and restrict. Nowhere does he challenge the premise that it is moral for the state to expropriate the earnings of some to benefit another. Nowhere does he assert the American principle of individual rights, i.e., that rights pertain to the freedom of action - not an outcome which implies an obligation on others to provide it.

While Obama relies on soaring, emotional appeals to "social justice", the GOP offers a "targeted approach" that relies on "common sense reforms", i.e., a combination of a few good ideas (like liability reforms) and their own watered down version of socialized medicine. Ask yourself which side is likely to win?


Anonymous said...

I never have understood how the liberal mind can justify the morality of forcing me to work for someone else's benefit against my will. They will fight their morality position to the death, too, since they ascribe to concepts moral relativisim. Since helping others is the pinnacle of morality, and any hardship incurred by those that do not want to partake in forced labor pales in comparison, theirs is the moral position. It is insanity.

Mark T.

The Rat Cap said...


The idea that "sacrifice" is the good and is a moral duty is a powerful concept. It serves to justify every manner of atrocity. This idea leads to nothing but misery, suffering, and death.