Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pelosi's finest hour is our nightmare

The health care bill that Pelosi and company approved yesterday is estimated to cost $1 trillion over the next decade. The actual costs, of course, will be far higher, assuming the country is still around in 10 years. The bill passed 220-215. One Republican, John Cao of Louisiana, backed the plan, while 39 Democrats opposed it. According to Bloomberg,
Lawmakers hailed the step as a historic follow-on to the 1965 creation of the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled. They said the bill would cover 36 million uninsured Americans and curb costs. New rules would prevent insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and seniors would get help obtaining preventive care and medicine.
And I promise you, it will work as well as every other government program.

There is still some hope. The in-fighting in Congress could conceivably kill any kind of health care legislation.
The spotlight now moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid is struggling to get the votes to even begin debate on his version. Once the Senate passes a bill, lawmakers from each chamber would work together on a compromise for a new round of votes, a process likely to take months.

Reid last week wouldn’t commit to meeting Obama’s goal of signing a health-care bill into law by the end of the year. Already, it has been almost four months since four of the five congressional committees assigned to work on health care passed their versions of bills.

And House leaders can’t be sure of retaining all the votes they won last night. The bill passed over the objections of Democrats who favor abortion rights after an amendment put restrictions on the use of federal funds for the procedure for people using new insurance purchasing exchanges. Some Democrats said they wouldn’t back final legislation with the provision.
Then there's always secession or nullification. On nullification, Wikipedia says:
Nullification is a legal theory that a U.S. State has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional. . . .

One of the earliest and most famous examples is to be found in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, a protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts. In these resolutions, authors Thomas Jefferson and James Madison argued that the states are the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution and can "interpose" to protect state citizens from the operation of unconstitutional national laws.
Is the provision of health care a constitutionally-assigned task to the government? No, it isn't; therefore, the states could nullify any bill passed on those grounds. Trying to slip it in on the back of the General Welfare clause makes a mockery of the idea of limited government (which in truth doesn't work, but that's another issue) and the Constitution itself.

Secession is appealing, but I think most people would find it hard to break ranks with the country they've grown up with. They would need something better, and since most people don't accept the libertarian philosophy of nonaggression in government, their idea of "better" would be loaded with problems, if they had any ideas at all.

But what about health care reform? If government shouldn't attempt it, who should? Here is an answer that deserves close attention.

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