Monday, August 27, 2012
Whether ObamaCare might eventually make us "customers" of the government or has
the government micromanaging the medical professionals we depend on is unimportant. If we don't repeal it, here's a taste of what we can expect in the form of a trial balloon:
Sign up or pay up. The City of Chicago is urging its employees and their eligible spouses to join the city's "innovative wellness program," or else pay an additional $50 a month for their health care plan.I have no problem with a private insurer in an unregulated market offering lower rates to customers who opt to participate in some kind of health regimen. Customers who disagree with the health regimen or simply don't like it can always look elsewhere for insurance. (And if the regimen is mere quackery, that company will eventually stop offering the deal or go out of business.) Likewise, if an employer wants to insist on a fitness standard or program for his employees, that is his right: Nobody is forcing anyone to work for him.
"Our program will change lives, make our workforce healthier, and save taxpayers money," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Thursday. "It will only work if people join, and I'm so pleased to report that we've had well over 22,000 employees or spouses join the program."
In and of itself, I don't have a problem with the general idea of what Chicago is doing here (even as a government employer) -- ignoring for the sake of argument that most of Chicago's government workers would not be government workers if the Windy City's government were restricted to its proper scope.
That said, what bothers me is the following. There is massive confusion today about the proper role and scope of government, such that this proposal is a shot across the bow, particularly considering who the mayor is. It is only a tiny additional slip down the slope to tyranny for the government to force this kind of "choice" down everyone's throat, thanks to ObamaCare. Never mind that, left to one's own devices, one might conceivably conclude that either spending more on health insurance or following the particular orders the government issues regarding one's health is a poor choice.
ObamaCare is bad not just for the many flaws other commentators have ably pointed out already, but also for opening the door to "choices" such as this, between being continuously pick-pocketed or hectored on the pretext of it being "healthy".