Tuesday, May 16, 2017
If you'd like a succinct demonstration of the wide gulf between
conservatism and advocacy of individual rights, look no further
than RealClear Politics, which has just published a piece
by Diane Black (R-TN), who sponsored the ObamaCare replacement
bill recently passed by the House:
The American Health Care Act continues our progress in creating a more patient-centered, free-market health care system. The bill isn't perfect, but I worked hard to make it as conservative as possible.Where to begin?
We gave states the option of adding work requirements for able-bodied adults with no dependents who are on Medicaid. But I believe that requirement should be mandatory and I will continue to push for that, whether in our upcoming budget or in future legislation. Work is a fundamental part of the American Dream. It's a reasonable expectation in exchange for getting a hand-up from the government, and we should do everything in our power to help everyone in America get and keep a job. [bold added]
Governments, which act by wielding force, cannot create a free market in anything: That's the job of individuals who decide by mutual consent to trade with one another. What the government can and should do is create the necessary conditions for this to happen. But that would require the government to use its courts, jails, and guns only to ensure that individuals are free to act according to their best judgment, that is, to keep men free from other men.
ObamaCare does the opposite, by enslaving everyone in a medical context in one way or the other. Here are a few broad examples: We are forced by taxation to pay for the care of complete strangers. Patients cannot avail themselves of (actual) medical insurance, because the government effectively outlaws it. Physicians work under onerous regulations. I could go on and on. All of these things are immoral, and a government that imposes them is tyrannical. This bill, and numerous other more established ones should be repealed root and branch, and as quickly as possible. There was never a need to "replace" this measure with anything but freedom, and certainly not to add a new class of slaves (via a "job" requirement) to this reeking stew. And why do state governments, rather than individuals, get the few, limited choices ObamaCare Lite leaves open? For the same reason that this bill is fundamentally the wrong thing to do about ObamaCare. Replacing one tyranny with fifty is about as "free market" as the idea that the government should compel someone to nurse or employ a complete stranger, rather than making it possible for interested parties to offer medical care or employment for others to take or leave.
That said, I am aware that an actual, total repeal is probably beyond the scope of the politically possible in today's context, and I understand that the idea of a work requirement is to "disincentivize" use of the program. But note that this piece in no way frames any of this as "in order to return government to its proper scope, we will adopt X measure as a way of sunsetting." (I would still hold that a work requirement would be wrong in that context.) Rather, the whole piece accepts the premise that it is somehow the government's job to take care of people by stealing from us or otherwise compelling us to do things. THIS is what distinguishes an effort to excise a cancerous lump from mere cosmetic surgery to make the lump easier for the patient to ignore for a while.
Until and unless "as conservative as possible" refers to government limited to its proper scope, that phrase will offer cold comfort to advocates of liberty.