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Health vs Faith: The debate over insurance for contraceptives.")

One early paragraph in her column sums up the issue and explains why she is wrong. She asserts

While freedom of religion demands careful consideration, so does the right of low-income women to receive safe and affordable heath care.

The fundamental error should be obvious: there is no "right of low-income women to receive safe and affordable health care." None. Zero. Nada. Her entire analysis is based on a falsehood.

There are no "positive rights."

The Future of Freedom Foundation explains it well in an article by Sheldon Richman, "Wrong Rights." In oversimplified terms, a "positive right" is an entitlement. If, for example, Wirthman is correct and there is a right to receive safe and affordable healthcare, then someone has an obligation to provide that healthcare. The person asserting the right is entitled to the healthcare and it necessarily follows that someone MUST provide it, whether they wish to or not. There can be no moral justification for forcing someone to act against their wishes. That is the basis for tyranny.

"Oh, sure," some say, "maybe it's a teeny, tiny bit of tyranny, but it's really no big deal because we are all better off  as a collective when some people are forced to act against their will." If the danger of such thought is not evident, well, then nothing is.

Wirthman argues that society is better off when it provides "safe and affordable healthcare" to everyone. Maybe so. On the other hand, maybe the best way to do that is by voluntary action and not the use of government force. We can have that debate.

But without a fundamental understanding of "rights," any debate is pointless. It is like arguing physics with someone that rejects Newton's Laws of Motion.

BlueCarp

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State mandated “affordable healthcare” may be a great idea – but it ain’t a “right.”

Freelance writer Lisa Wirthman has a long defense of state involvement in health care in today’s Denver Post. (See “Health vs Faith: The debate over insurance for contraceptives.”)

One early paragraph in her column sums up the issue and explains why she is wrong. She asserts

While freedom of religion demands careful consideration, so does the right of low-income women to receive safe and affordable heath care.

The fundamental error should be obvious: there is no “right of low-income women to receive safe and affordable health care.” None. Zero. Nada. Her entire analysis is based on a falsehood.

There are no “positive rights.”

The Future of Freedom Foundation explains it well in an article by Sheldon Richman, “Wrong Rights.” In oversimplified terms, a “positive right” is an entitlement. If, for example, Wirthman is correct and there is a right to receive safe and affordable healthcare, then someone has an obligation to provide that healthcare. The person asserting the right is entitled to the healthcare and it necessarily follows that someone MUST provide it, whether they wish to or not. There can be no moral justification for forcing someone to act against their wishes. That is the basis for tyranny.

“Oh, sure,” some say, “maybe it’s a teeny, tiny bit of tyranny, but it’s really no big deal because we are all better off  as a collective when some people are forced to act against their will.” If the danger of such thought is not evident, well, then nothing is.

Wirthman argues that society is better off when it provides “safe and affordable healthcare” to everyone. Maybe so. On the other hand, maybe the best way to do that is by voluntary action and not the use of government force. We can have that debate.

But without a fundamental understanding of “rights,” any debate is pointless. It is like arguing physics with someone that rejects Newton’s Laws of Motion.

candidate profiles. Yes, I have cherry picked items inconsistent with limited government, free markets and personal liberty. Yes, these same profiles mention positions of each candidate that are consistent with limited government, free markets and personal liberty.

The point of this post, however, is to show that none of these three candidates believe, as a first principle, in limited government, free markets and personal liberty. They each are more than willing to make exceptions when expedient. Therefore, any claim that they believe in limited government, free markets or personal liberty must be prefaced by the qualifier "when convenient."

Mitt Romney:

  • Defends the mandate-and-regulate approach to health care he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts
  • He favors strong government surveillance powers to combat terrorism, and has praised the PATRIOT Act as a useful information gathering tool. 
  • previously backed ... No Child Left Behind. 
  • He's conveniently in favor of subsidies for corn-based ethanol.

Newt Gingrich:

  • Opposes Obamacare but in 2005 joined Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) in "appearing to endorse proposals to require all individuals to have some form of health coverage."
  •  Gingrich joined Obama's "Race to the Top" in 2009, calling Education Secretary Arne Duncan “a serious innovator." 
  •  Gingrich likes ethanol subsidies and has accused "big cities" and "big urban newspapers" of trying to hurt the farmers who benefit from them. Also likes fossil fuel subsidies and said in 2010 that "a low-cost energy regime is essential to our country." Supported cap and trade in 2007, 

Rick Santorum:

  •  While he was in office ... his record was, in the Club for Growth's words, "plagued by the big-spending habits that Republicans adopted during the Bush years of 2001-2006." He was a strong supporter of dairy subsidies, voted for Medicare Part D and the 2005 highway bill
  • Sen. Santorum voted for the Sarbanes-Oxley law that he now wants to repeal. He also backed steel tariffs and was a player in the GOP's corporatist K Street Project. After initial opposition to the program, he became a big AmeriCorps booster.
  • "This idea that people should be able to go and do whatever they want and it doesn't really matter as long as it doesn't hurt anybody, that's not our founders' view of freedom."
  • He joined Hillary Clinton's crusade against violent video games, used campaign finance regulations to threaten critics' freedom of speech, and favors a porn crackdown.
  •  ... he has warned against "the 10th amendment run amok."
  •  He also has a history of supporting national schooling standards. He voted for the No Child Left Behind bill in 2001.
  •  ... he has an on-again, off-again history of support for energy subsidies as well. In 2008 he called for Washington to "mandate that all cars sold in the United States...be 'flex-fuel vehicles'—that is, they should be able to run on a blend that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline."


Can we quit pretending? The GOP loves government programs. One might be able to make the case that the GOP loves government programs less than Democrats, but that is damning with faint praise.

BlueCarp

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Mitt, Newt and Rick: Let’s end the myth that the GOP believes in limited government.

The 2012 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination should, once and for all, end the myth that the GOP is the party of limited government, free markets and personal liberty. I submit it is instructive to look at the records of the three remaining GOP candidates not named “Paul.”

The following bullet points were excerpted verbatim from Reason.com’s candidate profiles. Yes, I have cherry picked items inconsistent with limited government, free markets and personal liberty. Yes, these same profiles mention positions of each candidate that are consistent with limited government, free markets and personal liberty.

The point of this post, however, is to show that none of these three candidates believe, as a first principle, in limited government, free markets and personal liberty. They each are more than willing to make exceptions when expedient. Therefore, any claim that they believe in limited government, free markets or personal liberty must be prefaced by the qualifier “when convenient.”

Mitt Romney:

  • Defends the mandate-and-regulate approach to health care he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts
  • He favors strong government surveillance powers to combat terrorism, and has praised the PATRIOT Act as a useful information gathering tool. 
  • previously backed … No Child Left Behind. 
  • He’s conveniently in favor of subsidies for corn-based ethanol.

Newt Gingrich:

  • Opposes Obamacare but in 2005 joined Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) in “appearing to endorse proposals to require all individuals to have some form of health coverage.”
  •  Gingrich joined Obama’s “Race to the Top” in 2009, calling Education Secretary Arne Duncan “a serious innovator.” 
  •  Gingrich likes ethanol subsidies and has accused “big cities” and “big urban newspapers” of trying to hurt the farmers who benefit from them. Also likes fossil fuel subsidies and said in 2010 that “a low-cost energy regime is essential to our country.” Supported cap and trade in 2007, 

Rick Santorum:

  •  While he was in office … his record was, in the Club for Growth’s words, “plagued by the big-spending habits that Republicans adopted during the Bush years of 2001-2006.” He was a strong supporter of dairy subsidies, voted for Medicare Part D and the 2005 highway bill
  • Sen. Santorum voted for the Sarbanes-Oxley law that he now wants to repeal. He also backed steel tariffs and was a player in the GOP’s corporatist K Street Project. After initial opposition to the program, he became a big AmeriCorps booster.
  • “This idea that people should be able to go and do whatever they want and it doesn’t really matter as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody, that’s not our founders’ view of freedom.”
  • He joined Hillary Clinton’s crusade against violent video games, used campaign finance regulations to threaten critics’ freedom of speech, and favors a porn crackdown.
  •  … he has warned against “the 10th amendment run amok.”
  •  He also has a history of supporting national schooling standards. He voted for the No Child Left Behind bill in 2001.
  •  … he has an on-again, off-again history of support for energy subsidies as well. In 2008 he called for Washington to “mandate that all cars sold in the United States…be ‘flex-fuel vehicles’—that is, they should be able to run on a blend that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.”

Can we quit pretending? The GOP loves government programs. One might be able to make the case that the GOP loves government programs less than Democrats, but that is damning with faint praise.

If the government does it, it will be either substandard, too expensive, or both.

The government built a school for $18.9 million. They used it one year. Now it is closed because it was built so poorly.

The money is gone. The building is useless.

… and some people want the government to take over your health care, too.

Health Care is the Topic in Chattanooga

Join your fellow liberty lovers this coming earth day for an excellent night of political discourse, networking, great drinks and tons of fun!  Van Irion will be joining Liberty on the Rocks Chattanooga to keep folks up-to-date on his recent lawsuit against ObamaCare.  This is clearly an important issue for liberty, and we must know all the facts so we can pass them on to the ones we love.

I hope you can make it to our first meet-up as we kick off the second Liberty on the Rocks chapter in Tennessee! Chattanooga Liberty on the Rocks will no doubt be the place to be each and every month for liberty lovers of all stripes!

Location:

Big River Grille Downtown – South Bar
222 Broad Street
Chattanooga, TN

Health Care Reform

This health care reform has tentacles.  It will control major aspects of our lives, including our ability to choose.

I know there are still people out there who believe the government is made up of good, selfless people who care only for their fellow man.  But let’s just get over that, shall we?  The government is made up of politicians and bureaucrats, and they are just as interested in themselves as anyone else.  Is it any wonder that people are extremely concerned about the amount of power we are about to let them extend over our lives?  This health care reform will be the death of our freedoms and our rights as human beings.  We will no longer be able to choose what we wish to buy and from whom.  The government will be deciding that from now on when it comes to our health.

H.R. 3590, requires, “…all American citizens and legal residents [to] purchase qualified health insurance coverage” after December 31, 2013.

Notice that it says “qualified” insurance?  That means you don’t get to choose what you want to buy, the government will decide for you.  And actually, it won’t even necessarily be them who decide.  It will most likely be the most convincing lobbyists.  A Christian Science Monitor article written by Dr. Paul Hsieh, co-founder of Freedom and Rights in Medicine (FIRM), discusses the lobbyist problem that came about in Massachusetts after its universal health care plan was implemented.  He found that, “[s]ince 2006, providers have successfully lobbied to include 16 new benefits in the mandatory package (including lay midwives, orthodontics, and drug-abuse treatment), and the state legislature is considering 70 more.” With the economy struggling the way it is, is it really fair to enact health care reform that forces  Americans to insure themselves against things they have no reason to?

This health care reform is also more than likely to impact our unemployment numbers, forcing more people onto the government dole.  How could it not?  The Senate Democrat bill forces employers with 50 or more employees to offer health insurance benefits, or else pay a fine of $750 per person.  It would cost a business with 50 employees $37,500 just to not provide them with benefits.  Imagine how expensive it will be when they do choose to provide them.  This will result in less money for businesses.  That equates to less people being hired, lower wages and/or higher prices for consumers.  Think of how much more of a strain it will now be for employers to take on new employees.  Wouldn’t you think twice before hiring someone new, considering how much it will cost?

It also dampens the entrepreneurial spirit.  If employers want to offer their employees health insurance, it is their right.  But is it the government’s right to force independent business owners to take care of the health of their employees?  When someone decides to start their own business, do we really want to tell them it will require thousands of their own dollars going toward health insurance, on top of the extreme long hours and hard work it takes to be an entrepreneur?  I think it’s time we stopped taking these hard-working, driven people for granted. Pretty soon there won’t be much in it for them to start a business, so why should they?

The government is not our friend.  In my opinion, they should be looked at as an evil octopus, constantly trying to spread its tentacles over everything and everyone in order to achieve more power for itself.  The goal of government is to grow, no matter for what purpose.  Whether it’s to “defeat” global warming or to provide health insurance to Americans, the government is always looking for ways to control our lives, with the guise that they are “saving us” from evil profiteers.  But what we mustn’t forget, before we attempt to strangle these “profit” earners once and for all, is that without them government would no longer be able to support itself.  On second thought….forget I said anything.

The Health Care Morass – Can We Handle the Truth?

Here’s an unpopular proposition – the health care industry as we know it can’t be “fixed” because it is based on a false premise, the premise of “free money.”

Truth — there can never be enough money in any insurance pool to provide extraordinary care for every participant; finite resources can never yield infinite benefits, any other expectation is free money, Ponzi math.   So, anyone, on whatever side, who tries to sell a pipe dream that somehow everybody’s going to be covered and we’re going to all have all the health care benefits to which we’ve become accustomed at “affordable” insurance rates is blowing smoke.

Yes, the current system is out of control:
– “greedy” insurers have dropped their pay-out rates, some to as low as 60%,
– Big Pharma’s insidious take-over of the industry for their burgeoning financial bottom lines is unconscionable,
– trial lawyers adding $3.6 billion in direct costs (2008 malpractice insurance expenses), and who knows how many billions more for CYA tests and such, is at best, not helpful
– non-contributors to the pool receiving, gratis, the most expensive health care delivery, at emergency rooms, is ludicrous…

…and on and on.  A snip here, a patch there will help — you can grow the financial pool by siphoning more out of people’s pocketbooks (through rates OR taxes), or you can attempt to wring more “benefits” out of the cost side, but, no matter how you parse it, there will still be a limited pool, and somebody is going to have to decide who and what gets covered – the argument is only about WHO does that rationing; the insurers, which, it can be argued, do a crappy job (yes, they do ration, through denial of coverage), or the government, which, it can be argued, does little well (or the states, but Massachusetts has done such a high-profile lousy job, you don’t hear many voices for that option.)

Here’s a different question to ask – why did we ever put our physical well-being into somebody else’s hands in the first place?  Of course there’s no free market mechanism to keep costs and benefits in equilibrium – you walk into the doctor’s office or show up at the hospital, and your expectation is, it’s all going to be taken care of by your insurance company, up to millions in coverage over your lifetime.  The doctor, the hospital, the pharmaceutical companies, the labs, the insurance company – they’ll make all the decisions amongst themselves, you just pay your premiums and your copays and trust them to deliver you from your ailment.

That’s the fantasy upon which we’ve built our expectation of health care, and that’s why it can never be “fixed” to meet our expectations.  Personal health care MUST become a personal responsibility, with the consumer making his/her own market decisions based on his/her own financial state and priorities.

A good step forward has been the rising popularity of Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s and the like), which require a high deductible before coverage kicks in.  It certainly encourages the consumer to invest in taking care of themselves, and even “shop” for non-life-threatening procedures and tests.  Problem is, just ask your provider what the costs of the tests, or the procedure will be – odds on you’ll get a blank stare and ‘we don’t have that information, why would you want to know that?’  Maybe I’m reading the wrong details, but I haven’t seen anybody advancing any “upfront pricing” requirement of providers, and without it, there can never be a “free market” connection between consumers and providers.

Things can’t stay the same – the question is, is socialism and rationing or the sometimes harsh personal responsibilities of a free market system your choice?

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