In what has been one of the most heated and highly publicized debates in recent years, it’s been amazing to see the upheaval of public interest in health care reform. From countless YouTube videos and dozens of newsflashes and reports of town hall protests, it’s easy to see there are a lot of people that aren’t happy with what’s going on. Now, this would normally be a time for me and my conservative minions to proudly sound an advance on Capitol Hill, but there is some reckoning that needs to happen first.
The debate has taken a turn for the worst. We’re no longer compromising. Be it the bull-headed GOP or the jackass liberal Democrats, a definitely line has been drawn in the sand; Representatives are being forced to choose their side under immense public scrutiny. The White House has even begun to imply that there will have to be a Democrat-only vote to push health care legislation through Congress. The white house blames the GOP and the visa versa.
What really chaps my hide isn’t so much the fact that we’re disagreeing. Heck, we’ve been at odds with one another since men were still wearing wigs and knickers. What really get me are the implications of the outcome of this debate. There is a serious shift of power that is occurring in this country as we consider and possibly pass bills such as the health care bill currently sitting on Capitol Hill.
With the introduction of federal programs, there comes a surrendering of autonomy in some degree or another. Many families lose the ability to find decent health care, because private insurance companies will be scrambling to match the government’s offer. Even then, if those families decided to take the feds up on their new program, they’ll have to take a number and wait for their turn to check out some ailment that should have been addressed much sooner. Companies, both big and small, will suddenly lose a bargaining chip (a.k.a. health benefits) that they once used to attract skilled full-time labor and instead get a “tax monkey” to carry around, in order to support this doomed program.
Part of my sentiments about this issue comes from time spent abroad in the socialized nation of Chile. One thing I noticed above all is the polarization of the health care offered to the Chilean people. If you were looking for treatment that was comparable to “U.S. standards,” you would have to be willing to shell out the big bucks to pay for it. Otherwise, the government-run hospitals and clinics were the only other local option. Since there was little-to-no cost to the patient for health care, people came for the slightest coughs and sore throats. A mere checkup would be scheduled out three to four months in advance. Is it any wonder that the leaders of other countries come to the States for their medical needs?
If you’re scratching your head and saying, “Jess, you’re an alarmist and an over-exaggerator,” try this one on for size. I am currently enrolled in a health plan that mimics the proposed health plan the federal government will provide if the bill passes. Several months ago, I went in for a checkup for chest pains and was informed that I needed to visit a specialist that dealt with such problems. Should the problem continue, I was in danger of contracting cancer. Naturally, there was need for an urgent checkup to curb this potentially lethal problem. However, the program in which I am enrolled offered only one specialist — and he was booked solid for four months. Keep in mind, this was America. Granted, I only had to pay for the co-pay and I would eventually get seen, but what can we expect from a larger version of this plan? Is there need to worry about the shortage of doctors and specialists that will want to work for government?
I guess what is most troubling above all is the manner in which we are proceeding to pass this bill. Democratic leaders, along with the White House, are determined to pass this bill without delay. I don’t fault them for their vigor, nor for their ambition of helping a larger portion of Americans receive healthcare; However, there is no room in democracy — especially in American democracy — for these thug-like stratagems in Congress. This bill is just one of several examples of a major shift of power and responsibility towards the federal government.
It’s a big deal and for Democrats to just say “We’re doing this whether you like it or not” isn’t only offensive to the framework of the Constitution, but it’s a key indicator of the lack of leadership abilities of both the majority leaders and the White House. The attempt to garner public support through town hall meetings has proved that many Americans are against the plan set forth thus far. Polls show that more Americans disapprove than approve of the plan, so why are our leaders planning on making a power move to ramrod this legislation through Congress when it will clearly take a step toward greater government control?
You may think this is a half-hearted attempt at a Beck/Hannity homage, but the truth is there are things to consider here that are of serious consequences. James Madison explained that the purpose of the American republic was to reduce the effect of factions, splinter cells that are looking to deprive others of their rights. Although the representatives that are fighting over this bill were elected by the people, a faction of leaders has emerged on Capitol Hill with the determination to decide for us one of the most personal decisions that we could make: How we care for ourselves medically. Are we in trouble or are we paving the way of the future? Such questions are worth debate and a personal diagnosis.
Jess Jones is a conservative political columnist for Rhombus. He is also the incoming vice-chair of the BYU College Republicans.
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