Republican Collectivism


The most disturbing part of the ObamaCare debate is not about where Republicans and Democrats disagree, but where they agree.

Take this issue of those with pre-existing illnesses. Many Republicans actually support government action to prevent insurance companies from refusing to insure them. Ignoring the benefits of cost-lowering free market competition and the role of charity, many Republicans believe it acceptable to force an insurance company — in business to insure against unknown risks — to “insure” someone currently experiencing a known risk.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., supports legislation to “eliminate pre-existing conditions” as a reason for a carrier to deny coverage. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., says government needs “to take care of things like pre-existing conditions so that that doesn’t stop (people) from getting insurance.” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, supports prohibiting “insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions or charging higher premiums to people who are sick.”

But this should not surprise anyone who observes the allegedly “fiscally conservative,” “pro-free market,” “limited government” party in action. From the acceptance of the New Deal to government bailouts of private industry, Republicans — sooner or later — go along.

Here are just a few recent examples. Republican President George W. Bush, for a time, worked with a Republican House and Senate. Bush promised and delivered a prescription benefits bill for seniors. It expanded Medicare, the popular under-funded entitlement program passed — with Republican support, by the way — in 1965. We like seniors. Seniors vote. So if they struggle with their drugs bills, why, by all means make someone else help pay them.

On the 10th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law by his father, Bush bragged about the law’s importance and effectiveness. That such an assault on private employers engenders praise says much about the GOP’s acceptance of federal government’s command and control.

Like Hamlet, Bush agonized over whether to support federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. He never said, “Why are we asking government to spend taxpayer money on research that is — or should be — done by the private sector or nonprofits?”

No Child Left Behind ties federal dollars to local schools’ performance. Where is the outrage about taxpayers in one state paying for education in another? What gives educrats in Washington, D.C., the skills, wisdom and competence to run schools in all 50 states? More importantly, what clause in the Constitution permits this? Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan campaigned to shut down the Department of Education.

Reagan failed. Today any candidate making such promises gets a one-way ticket to Shutter Island.

The entire ObamaCare debate starts off in the wrong place — with Republicans agreeing that “reform” is necessary, health care “costs too much” and that government must “make health care more affordable.” But it is because of government — laws, regulations and policies — that users pay more for services and drugs than they otherwise would.

Licensing requirements restrict potential caregivers. A non-doctor field medic in Iraq or Afghanistan could not come home, hang up a shingle, and render basic care without facing prosecution. Despite our aging population, trade associations, along with laws and regulations, restrict the number of doctors. Insurance companies enjoy protected markets because laws restrict carriers from competing across state lines. The Food and Drug Administration increases the cost of drugs while delaying or keeping possibly beneficial drugs off the market.

Republicans ran for the exits when Bush attempted a partial privatization of Social Security. And they should encourage a full-throated deregulation/privatization of the health care industry. After airline deregulation, fares declined. After telephone deregulation, telecommunications companies started providing a numbing array of services — along with better quality, lower prices and constant innovation.

Because government pays for nearly half of medical costs, we have a nation of government-provided-health-care dependents. Understandably, they want what they currently have or expect to have in the near future. But Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are steadily gnawing away at the country’s foundation. The bill is coming due.

In 1900, government at all levels — federal, state and local — took about 7 percent of America’s income. Today it’s almost 40 percent. And that doesn’t include an estimated 10 percent cost in federal unfunded mandates imposed on states and private business. President Barack Obama and Democrats want to add more than 30 million people — those without health insurance — to the takers, with little or no concern about the effect on the givers.

Are Republicans sounding the alarm about government’s present intrusion in health care and its counterproductive effect on quality, affordability and accessibility? Government, they should argue and persuade, grows at the expense of the productive. This eventually weakens the country by sapping the incentive of risk takers. This makes it harder — not easier — to help those we claim to care about.

A collectivist, whether an active or passive one, is still a collectivist. Having an “R” after the name provides no defense.

  • http://ow.ly/1fQ5b jerryjo

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/The_Inquisitor The_Inquisitor

    Amen!!

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    A much needed article.

  • Janet

    Larry Elder, I'd vote for you!

  • MMM

    Larry, I agree with you. I also have my own dilemma.

    A year ago at 55, I was told I have adult on-set muscular dystrophy, and that I have a fifty-fifty chance of giving it to each of my three healthy, at this point, sons. No one in my family, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings has a symptom. Will my sons develop it or not? Are my symptoms actually a symptom of an auto immune disease I also have? My muscle weakness is reversing, could it be that I will recover? We don't know.

    Here we are: science can tell me I have a genetic marker for something for which I am told there is no treatment and no cure. The jury is still out as to whether it is the cause of what is happening with me. In the mean time if my husband changes jobs, I will not be insurable — even though my condition is untreatable. My children who are teenagers and young adults and, like the rest of my family, may never develop any symptom — are they going to be insurable when they become employed? I'm told thirty percent of the people with the marker never have a symptom — if you count my cousins and aunts and uncles, I'm one in forty who has a symptom, if, indeed that is the cause.

    To insure or not to insure, that is the question.

    We are at a point of absurdity in the knowledge we have, and the knowledge we don't have.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

      A couple of weeks ago, I saw a great documentary on Darwin which included some of the most recent discoveries of genetic science. As much as we know…we still know so little….it's the whole sphere of ignorance…

      Insurance companies, because they are always concerned with the bottom line (or their commission) have systems that simply toss out people with pre-existing conditions because they may need immediate care but more often because the odds aren't as good that the insurance company will make money off that customer.

      Naturally, greed has pushed insurance companies to expand what is considered a pre-existing condition…you might have heard of the "fat" baby being denied care or any number of ridiculous excuses that may pass through the insurance machinery, but in the light of day simply looks stupid.

      I'm sorry for your condition…and I hope you are able to get whatever care you need.

    • old white guy

      we have to look after those who are unable to look after themselves. unable……

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  • http://www.tstark2010.com Thomas Stark

    This is precisely on target as the reason voters need to choose carefully during contested primaries. In the 1st district of WV there are six candidates running for the House seat. Two are establishment Republicans with state senate experience. One has ties to former party leadership and establishment Republicans. Three are new blood running for the first time. There are at an instant disadvantage because of the backing received from national groups connected to the GOP and because they are the ones with the money to buy the media time. Until voters wake up and see past this transparent purchase of public office and start paying attention to the commitments being made (or not) by the candidates, they will continue along the same road of "more of the same" corruption and "go along to get along." Sen. Jim DeMint makes few friends in Washington but he sticks to his commitments. Congressman Jason Chaffetz stands on principle rather than party platform. These are the models we should be looking for…the ones who are not afraid to rock the boat. Elect enough and you will see the ship of state turn around and head for the port of choice…the Constitutional Republic of our founders. http://www.tstark2010.com

  • http://theunknownamerican.blogspot.com theunknownamerican

    I'm getting really disgusted with republicans who always do this. They have to be cleaned out of the party.

  • Sheri

    Something needs to be done to set up high risk insurance pools that could help those with prexisting conditions get more affordable coverage. The answer to the problem is not to force insurance companies to take everyone, regardless of their health condition. That would end up making all the insurance companies go out of business, which is exactly what Obama and the Demoncrats want.

  • chuckie2u

    Lets be honest with ourselves about how we are governed. The issue gets to a strong centralized governing body vs a decentralized one depending on the states. Both parties want power vested in a strong centralized governing body. The differences of the 2 parties will only be in degrees. If the politicians put the people of America first then all the foreign pay offs would cease and we would stop trying to influence other governments via all the goodies passe out. The money is available to provide services to our citizens but it is being mismanaged on purpose.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

    Yeah Larry…Republicans, even though they would love to just maintain the status quo and do nothing…they have also seen the numbers and projections about where this crazy train is heading. The whole "made up problem" meme Larry perfers here amounts to sticking your head in the sand and pretending.

    The only question is how do we reform it. One thing is clear…when the dust settles, the insurance companies won't be making as much money. That is what Republicans and Larry Elder are fighting against.

    • USMCSniper

      Again you are so stupid that you don't even suspect you are stupid. The profits of Insurance companies are from w.4% to 3% of gross intake. The government then takes 35% of these profits as corporation taxes.

      The only question is how do we reform it is true. Tort reform requiring ambulance chasers to pay legal fees and court costs when they lose, medical insurances across state lines (like Medicare and Medicaid already) with strictly enforced contract rules which is the goverments only legitimate role, and allowing cooperatives for individuals and the self employed. And watch the premiums come down just like life insurance.

    • http://theunknownamerican.blogspot.com theunknownamerican

      I keep hearing this "fighting for their right to make more money" as if it is a crime because the government should protect people's property which includes money.

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    Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., supports legislation to "eliminate pre-existing conditions" as a reason for a carrier to deny coverage. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., says government needs "to take care of things like pre-existing conditions so that that doesn't stop (people) from getting insurance." Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, supports prohibiting "insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions or charging higher premiums to people who are sick."

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  • http://club-penguin-secrets.com/ Club Penguin

    I can't believe that I am even hearing about how disturbing the Pres. Obama health care debate is. Not about where Republicans and Democrats disagree, but where they agree.

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    Instead of wasting time arguing, they should work together!

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    I have been listening to speeches of Ronald Reagan. Peppered all through them is the word 'Freedom'. I have yet to hear a speech by Obama where he even mentions the word.

  • http://www.kenya-travel-packages.com/giraffe-pictures.html chrise

    I think it is about time the healthcare sector was reformed. I see the insurance companies' point of view though. They would make definite losses on those with pre-existing conditions – although these could be more than canceled out by a far larger number of the insured.

  • http://www.freezer-reviews.com/kenmore-chest-freezers.html rhonda

    Perhaps those with pre-existing conditions could be insured provided the federal governments meet part of the bill. Otherwise, there is nothing in it for the insurance companies.

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    All insurance companies should except a pre-existing condition. People move around, change countries, states, medical companies and jobs

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    This will keep the US government involved in the health conditions of the people. The way it should be

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    All insurance companies should except a pre-existing condition. People move around, change countries, states, medical companies and jobs

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    The biggest problem in this health debate is education. We the people of the United States have failed when it comes to civics and history. I myself, a Republican, was all worried about mandates and unconstitutionality of the health care bill, and I was TOTALLY wrong

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  • nathan50

    Yeah Larry…Republicans, even though they would love to just maintain the status quo and do nothing…they have also seen the numbers and projections about where this crazy train is heading. The whole "made up problem" meme Larry perfers here amounts to sticking your head in the sand and pretending.

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