Coming down to a weak 220 to 215 vote, H.R. 3962 passed last night. That means if only three more members of Congress voted against this bill, it would have failed. Make no mistake–we’ve seen far more controversy over this bill than unanimity. Why?
Many point to this bill as missing its intended purpose, which is stated to solve our broken health care condition in this country. I don’t dispute our current health care is sub-par and could use big improvements. However, is this within the realm of the federal government? If so, to which part of the Constitution is the federal government granted powers to enact such laws? Shouldn’t this be–at most–an issue for the states? Is anyone in Washington even asking such a question with the bills they “write” (but don’t read) anymore? It would seem not.
H.R. 3962 is a bloated stack of kludges that nobody has read. I wonder, then, how our representatives can demonstrate they’re maintaining their vow to uphold the Constitution of these United States, if they repeatedly vote bills into law without even reading them. I wonder, also, who is writing these bills? Whatever happened to the promise to make such bills available to the American citizens several days before a vote? Was the full bill even available to those expected to vote on it several days before the vote? If not, isn’t it safe to say upholding their Constitutional duties is impossible with behavior of this sort?
Anyway, it seems the real purpose of this bill has been diluted into solving the problem–not of access to good, affordable health care for U.S. citizens–but of an unacceptably low percentage of citizens holding health insurance. (Nothing like aiming high, eh?) What is ultimately the solution proposed in this bill? Simple. Citizens are now mandated to have health insurance, never mind the cost. Oh, that was easy–why didn’t we do this before? If you don’t get “acceptable” insurance, you’ll be slapped with a fine. If you don’t pay the fine, you can be criminally prosecuted for tax evasion.* Nanny state to the rescue, though I can find nothing in the Constitution to even allow such “rescues”.
Of course, it’s easy to throw stones (and particularly easy to throw stones at our so-called representatives), but that still leaves us with the problem of sub-par health care, doesn’t it? How might a reasonable person address this problem?
I’ve recently read an excellent article in the fall edition (Southern Colorado) of the Good American Post by Sean McCarthy, which draws, in part, from another article in the Wall Street Journal by John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods Market) which I highly recommend reading as well for eight solid health reform ideas.
If you look around, you might locate a copy or two of this edition of the Good American Post around town, and I highly encourage you to read it and consider the ideas therein. McCarthy’s basic assertion in his article is that–as with all government programs–discouraging a particular activity (such as smoking) uses tools such as regulation and taxation, whereas encouraging a particular activity requires relaxation of these tools. Therefore all the options being discussed in Washington regarding health care appear to be headed in exactly the wrong direction, by increasing both regulation and taxation!
With all the good ideas available out there in tackling this health care issue, isn’t it a wonder that our servants in Washington haven’t stumbled across any of them? Of course a cynic like myself might wonder if that’s really their intended purpose in the first place. From their poor approval numbers, it looks like I’m not alone.
Please make a priority to inform yourself of viable, Constitutionally-sound alternatives to the broken proposals seen on Capitol Hill. Learn, think, debate, and contact your representatives and let them know what you think. After all, they don’t even read the bills they pass into law–how can you expect them to read your mind?
Remember, this recent legislative disaster passed the House with only three votes’ margin. Could your involvement with your representative have changed that outcome? What will you do when this bill hits the Senate floor? Anything?
*Edit: I’ve found several articles backing up these claims, as well as the language in the H.R. 3962 bill itself, and decided to add it to this post, for reference. See Section 59B under Part VIII for the special tax on individuals without “acceptable” health insurance coverage. Because this is a special tax, it’s subject to enforcement by the IRS. See this article at the National Underwriter for why non-payment of the special tax can result in criminal prosecution. And this article at the National Federation of Independent Business details 15 reasons why this bill is necessarily bad for independent/small businesses.