Last week I blogged on how non-existent Constitutional rights granted by Congress and presidents alike were responsible for the bankruptcy of America. Thus, over the years, some of us have been given the right to a job, a certain wage, free food, retirement income, financial bailout for irresponsible behavior, and so on and so forth. In 1971, when Nixon took America completely off the Gold Standard, he opened the gate for massive federal spending and tantalized and encouraged our shameless leaders to grant the above mentioned non-existent Constitutional rights and many more.
This week I received an email from Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio entitled “A New Movement: Health Care as a Civil Right” . Sure enough, another member of Congress was at it again. Seems the congressman along with Representative John Conyers of Michigan and 85 co-sponsors in the House have proposed legislation that would make health care for all a civil right. Get this; it would be of the single payer variety like they have in Europe. You know the systems where the citizens boast that their healthcare is free even though they pay exorbitant amounts of taxes to the government and in many situations must wait for care or are denied care altogether. Kucinich boasts that his plan would eliminate premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. So I suppose our care would be “free” as well. And he also claims that, “All health care assets in America would become not-for-profit.”
As anyone with any common sense knows there is no such thing as something for nothing. This is precisely why we are in the mess we are in today. Kucinich is promising something huge that he can’t deliver. At the very least, someone will have to pay the basic costs of healthcare. Certainly, doctors, nurses, scientists that develop drugs, and the janitors that clean the hospitals and labs are not going to work for free. As a matter of fact, smart people in America will either not enter the medical profession or if they already have will go someplace else to make a decent living given the time and expense it has cost them to become doctors. But, I am sure that when this happens the good congressman would then propose legislation whereby the federal government pays for all medical educations. You can see where this is bound to go.
Obviously, if healthcare were to become “free” under any plan that resembled Kucinich’s the taxpayer would foot the bill for the huge expenses that would result. I know this is a logical fallacy of sorts. You see the biggest problem with the current system is that individuals do not actually pay for enough of their own healthcare. On average about only 15 cents of every dollar spent on healthcare comes from individual’s pockets. The other 85 percent of costs is covered by insurance companies, government and other private sources. If I am only paying for 15 percent of any commodity then I care little what that commodity costs. The incentive to comparison shop like you would to buy a car or groceries is non-existent in healthcare. Someone else is paying for most of the cost. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth applies. Obviously, our healthcare system has more wrong with it than that. But the point here is that Kucinich’s plan would lower personal costs of healthcare from the current 15 percent to zero. Logically, then, we would see even larger increases in healthcare costs due to the total disconnect between service and payment responsibility. Put another way, if something is free, then consumers will use more of it and costs will rise astronomically. You can’t fool this golden rule of economics.
Of course, Kucinich and his ilk know very little about economics. It seems he knows even less about the Constitution. He quotes the Constitution as his rationale for healthcare as a civil right. According to him, “The Preamble to the United States Constitution and Article One, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution both describe an originating purpose of our United States: to promote the general welfare.” The “general welfare” clause is an old argument that has been used by the rights granters for a long time. Of course they take the clause out of context. They quote it as if it stands alone. In fact, immediately following the clause in Article 1 Section 8 sixteen enumerated powers of Congress are listed. What is the purpose of this enumeration of powers if Congress’s powers are unlimited under the “general welfare” clause? Additionally, general welfare means all of us are affected equally. No government expenditure affects all of us equally except for those spent on the enumerated powers listed in Article 1 Section 8. Thus, there is no Constitutional authority for Congress to legislate, regulate, or grant any rights that are not enumerated in Article 1 section 8 of the Constitution. This includes so-called “free” universal healthcare.
No one knows for sure how the current healthcare reform debate will turn out. It should be squashed altogether on constitutional grounds. The proponents of federal socialized medicine do have recourse. Under Article V of the Constitution they can pursue amending the document to allow them to take up the matter. Naturally, they won’t do this because it would be a lot of work. Instead, they just misquote the Constitution and propose healthcare legislation that will allow them to grant a new right and spending us further into bankruptcy.