The recent decision by U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson striking down the “individual mandate” component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act poses an interesting question regarding access to affordable health care in America which has generally gone overlooked: do we even want everyone to be covered under health insurance?
In a segment for ABC’s show 20/20, John Stossel exposes some of the lesser known costs incurred by consumers and health care providers as a result of health insurance.
Insurance is effective when it protects patients from unforeseeable, catastrophic illness or injury. It’s a voluntary pooling of wealth against the risk of such events occurring. It isn’t designed to pay for predictable, and often unneeded, day-to-day care. Unfortunately, the latter has over time become the paradigm regarding health insurance, and this taking for granted of mundane care has caused an unnecessary increase in the demand for said care, which in turn has been increasing its price well beyond the rate of inflation.
Given what we know now, what could be the result of a law mandating the purchase of health insurance? We can most likely expect people to demand more health care. After all, insurance allows them to get it virtually “for free.” This will either intensify the trend of growing health care costs, create shortages, or both. It would also likely lead to higher insurance premiums, deductibles and co-payments.
The example of LASIK also brings up an important point. Obviously, it’s not feasible to shop around for the cheapest emergency/urgent care when you’ve had a heart attack or accidentally chopped off your finger, and insurance is necessary as a safety net for procedures dealing with those and similarly immediate problems. But what if insurance paid for only those procedures, and nothing else–what if we paid out of our own pockets for every other thing? Consumers would no longer be insulated from the true cost of their care. They’d shop around for the best deals, and hold health care providers accountable for their own costs as well. If nothing else, it would create more incentive for people to engage in healthy living and preventative care.
I would now like to comment on something which should be completely trivial and unnecessary in rational discussion: Judge Sotomayor, and the question of race in the context of her confirmation. I am not the first to examine this topic, but I believe it is part of a larger whole that is the use of identity politics in America today at all levels of government. To start out, let us remember a point she made from one of her speeches in 1994, which she recycled and used again in 2001:
“A wise woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion than a man.”
…and here is the 2001 quote:
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
As these statements halfheartedly trickled down through the catacombs of mainstream left-wing reporting entities, the “wise Latina woman” herself has had ample opportunity to justify her words, and ample opportunity to be attacked. That aside, you know as well as I do, if a white male had made similarly bigoted comments about the superior judgment of his own race, and the value of his own experiences in judicial rulings, the mainstream left-wing media would never let it go; we would never hear the end of it! Here is my message to any senator—Democrat or otherwise—any judge, or any other supporter of Sotomayor because of her race: If you find yourself incapable of judging her (or anyone else) as a nominee using an immutable standard such as constitutional interpretation or originalism as opposed to variables, and characteristics respective of different national or ethnic groups, you only show a deep and malignant blemish on your character. The fact that she can get away with this (in hearings by rephrasing her words like any good politician, and on the floor of the Senate, where she will most likely be confirmed by vote) is bad enough. It is yet another example of the incompetency of our representatives and parts of their constituency who do not understand the role of a justice. But the fact that this has even developed in to a valid discussion in the first place, and successfully distracted us from the nominee’s positions on constitutional issues is even more disgusting. It was apparent from the start that the President nominated her because of her race and background. The mainstream left-wing media doesn’t even need to make the case for judicial activism on her part or anyone else’ because the debate is framed around whether or not the opposition to her confirmation represents racism in America. This is to be entirely expected when the debate concerns a liberal politician, and I must give her credit for dodging every question possible regarding constitutional interpretation, but I digress. Americans need to understand that the role of the justice, whatever gender, nationality or race they may be is not to vote or rule based on empathy, nor is it to institutionalize identity politics in any branch of government, nor is it to create policy. We must not let nomination based on racism become the precedent for the high courts of the United States.