This post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.
I’ve watched with great interest how Obamacare seems to be crumbling right before our eyes. It has won every political hurdle it has faced from presidential elections to Supreme Court decisions. Who would have thought that the poor execution of a website would be its demise?
Of course, a true impression of the situation would have us admit that the website debacle has nothing to do with Obamacare as a policy – there is no relationship between the website problems and the veracity or goodness of Obamacare (unless we argue that anything the federal government attempts is doomed to failure – but that’s simply inaccurate).
Conservatives and other opponents of Obamacare make a huge mistake by not continuing to focus on its main defect. Obamacare will hurt freedom and Americans. It sounds reasonable, but it isn’t. It destroys any meaning of insurance and any balance between personal responsibility and true health insurance coverage. Conservatives need to argue that Obamacare is an entitlement, pure and simple. There is no concept of insurance underlying it. Forget insurance under Obamacare – insurance is dead. If anyone can be covered at any time with any pre-existing condition, the concept of insurance disappears forever.
This fatal flaw is exactly why Obamacare will lead quite naturally to single-payer government health coverage like the socialist systems in Canada and throughout Europe. If Obamacare is acceptable, there is no reason to avoid universal government health care. None.
As long as conservatives continue to miss the whole appeal of Obamacare, we will lose this fight.
As long as we nitpick and focus on website malfunctions we’ll continue to come across as petty and spiteful while proponents of Obamacare will look dedicated, caring and helpful – even if human as they execute the plan.
Conservatives need to recognize that a safety net for medical care must exist in a free society. We have to acknowledge that poor people get sick and they need medical care and that free market rhetoric fails to meet their needs. We have to argue forcefully and effectively that we “get it” – we get that defenders of freedom must provide an adequate health care safety net and that if we don’t create that safety net, progressives will, as they have with Obamacare.
Case in point: When we have thousands upon thousands of elderly people, in their last years of life, sitting in limbo between dignity and indignity – between the natural desire of family caregivers to keep their loved ones home versus the economic strains such loving sacrifice requires – conservatives need to innovate and discover private sector ways to improve the quality of life of the elderly. Government can’t do that – obviously it can’t.
As long as conservatives are swayed by libertarian and utilitarian impulses to neglect their fellow man in the name of principle, freedom will continue to disappear. But if conservatives can muster the moral and intellectual courage to meet all of the demands of a free society, we can reclaim freedom. Conservatives will value human dignity or we won’t. Either we’ll view life from conception to death as a miracle of God’s love or we will sink into a morass of human indignities – a morass populated with progressives who at least act like they care about other people.
Conservatives need to lead, not be their own worst enemies.
For Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.
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