Friday, June 29, 2012

After the ObamaCare Ruling; The Road Ahead

Paul Hsieh of FIRM has a new op-ed at PJ Media, What Should Americans Do After the Supreme Court ObamaCare Ruling? Hsieh warns that American healthcare will be in "deep trouble in just a few years," but also that the Court “does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Healthcare Act,” noting that “That judgment is up to the people.” 

Hsieh notes that there are plenty of good alternative replacement proposals on the table, should opponents succeed in repealing ObamaCare legislatively. On this score, Hsieh ends with a political call-to-action, noting that "The American people will have one final chance to kill ObamaCare at the ballot box this November, by electing politicians committed to repealing it."

Importantly, Hsieh highlights the philosophical nature of the battle:

Ultimately, the political fight against ObamaCare must be part of a broader fight for limited government that respects our freedoms. The proper function of government is to protect individual rights, such as our rights to free speech, property, and contract. Only those who initiate physical force or fraud can violate our rights. A properly limited government protects us from criminals who steal, murder, etc., as well as from foreign aggressors. But it should otherwise leave honest people alone to live peacefully, not deprive us of our freedoms in the name of “universal health care.”

"Reversing our present course won’t be easy," Hsieh notes. He's right, but not because our adversaries are powerful. Rather, we are up against a thick collectivist fog of anti-intellectualism. Consider "Brutus" from the comment thread:

Sorry Mr. Hsieh, I’ve been reading your critiques of Obamacare for a year now. You have never offered anything more specific than “sell across state lines”, “eliminate malpractice” and “let the market work”. These are not the “replace” in “repeal and replace”. At best these solutions would cut costs by less than 5% doing nothing about the uninsured and uninsurable. If our solution is to do nothing about the uninsured and uninsurable, then we need to just say so. Otherwise we need a compelling solution that addresses the needs of the American people. Your libertarian free market fantasies are just that. Please point to a successful healthcare system anywhere in the world or anywhere in history which depended on the free market yet achieved universal coverage. If you don’t want universal coverage, then at least say so.

Brutus's entire argument rests on certain premises that, if excepted uncritically, disarms any opposition. He smuggles them into the conversation, as if they are universally accepted without question or debate. How to fight this fog--expose and reject them, then frame the debate on the proper terms. I left this rebuttal to Brutus:

   Brutus, the alternative is not universal coverage or no universal coverage. The alternative is freedom or state supremacy (statism). When you declare that “universal coverage” is the goal that “we” must “achieve,” you are declaring that everyone’s lives and earnings are yours to dispose of, through your surrogates in government, for the purpose of solving what you declare to be “our” problems. This is a totalitarian premise, and if you want totalitarianism in medicine, then at least say so.
   But the lives and earnings of your fellow Americans are not yours to dispose of, and neither are they the government’s. We who advocate free markets recognize a moral truth that you ignore; that we only have a moral claim to our own lives and property. We recognize that we have no right to assume the role of criminal; to take from some to alleviate the problems of others, while taking credit for “caring.” We are not phonies. A free market is based on the moral premise that each person owns his own life, and only his own life. A free market only “does” one thing; leaves everyone free to solve their own problems, and to pursue their values without coercive interference.
   We recognize that a free market will not guarantee that every individual will solve every one of their problems. But what YOU don’t recognize is that a free market will make it much easier for people to find solutions to their problems. Take “the uninsured and the uninsurable.” That is not a national—i.e., “our”—problem. It is a problem for “the uninsured and the uninsurable.” One obvious cause is pre-existing conditions. The free market solution is to end the third-party-payer system, enabling people to buy and own their health insurance like they do life, auto, or homeowners insurance. When the loss of a job does not result in loss of coverage, the pre-existing “crisis” vanishes, making for far fewer “uninsured and uninsurable.”
   Every free market reform advocated by Mr. Hsieh will work in the same way. You don’t want to see it, Brutus, because you’re so wedded to your totalitarian universal coverage fantasies. Your sole idea of “doing something” is simplistic governmental dictates, and your sole idea of a free market is “doing nothing.” You have no concept of the myriad ways in which free citizens can do the doing for themselves, when government roadblocks are swept away.  

If you concede the collectivist premises that "universal coverage" is the goal; that anything less is "our" problem;  that wealth is the property of government; that the individual is morally subservient to society; etc., you have conceded the philosophical battlefield to the enemy, and lost any chance of winning the fight for free markets and your own inalienable individual rights.

"We will have our work cut out for us, through November and afterwards, Hsieh notes." "But the opportunity is ours for the taking — as long as we are willing to seize it." So let's seize the moral high ground, and let the battle begin continue.

For more, see:

Initial Thoughts On Today's ObamaCare Ruling

Moral Health Care vs. "Universal Health Care"
by Paul Hsieh

Capitalism and the Moral High Ground
by Craig Biddle

My Challenge to the GOP: A Philosophical Contract with America

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

Seizing the moral high ground, here, means rejecting the opponents smuggled premises and framing the debate with ones own, which are, assumedly, radically opposed. The opponent might turn around and walk away, ignoring one, or he might try woodshedding one, like Congressman Sherman succeeded, in a forum friendly to him, in doing to Peter Schiff recently, when Schiff didn't particularize his general position enough. Spectators will choose sides, but, if one is woodshedded it doesn't help his side. It probably hurts his side.