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Posted Sunday, March 7, 2010, at 6:40 PM

Just like the monster in a "B" movie horror film, this comprehensive healthcare reform just won't die.

Every one of us has an opinion on what can be done to make healthcare better. After all, nothing on this earth will ever be perfect. But this monstrous bill should not pass. It is not just that a sizable majority of citizens simply don't want it. It is also unconstitutional.

Beware politicians who offer to give you new rights. Any government or politician that believes that they can bestow rights inherently believes that rights can be taken away. Remember, it is a fundamental principal of our system of government that we are endowed with our rights by our creator. The Declaration of Independence states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Government cannot give rights. It can only protect rights or trample on them.

How do we distinguish between rights and responsibilities? At first blush, the question may seem obvious. However, as an example, is a person responsible for the provision of his own healthcare or does he have a right to receive it? The state, "that among these rights," means that there are more rights than those enumerated.

Perhaps more information can be gleaned from the Bill of Rights. After all, doesn't that grant all Americans certain rights? The following are excerpts from the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ...." "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..." In fact, the Bill of Rights doesn't grant anything. Rather, it prohibits government from trampling on certain enumerated pre-existing rights.

In his campaign for the Presidency, President Obama referred to the rights in the Bill of Rights as "negative rights" and asserted that there should also be positive rights. The protected rights in the Bill of Rights are sometimes called negative rights because each right enumerated in the United States Constitution, and all of the amendments thereto, are restraints on the power of government. Rights, as protected in the Constitution, are something innate within the condition of being human, not something that man can bestow.

The positive rights referred to by our president would be powers conveyed from government to the people. However, our government derives its power from the people and has no powers other than those given it by the people. Therefore, our government can't give to the people any rights as all rights are already possessed by the people.

Still, we haven't answered our question. Is healthcare an individual responsibility or an individual right? It seems that sickness is inevitable. Once sick, do people have the right to compel other people to provide health products and services?

If we examine the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, we may find some additional enlightenment. The entire text of the 13th Amendment is "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Does any person have the right to compel a medical practitioner to provide medical goods and services? Does anyone have the right to force them to work for a predetermined rate of pay? Isn't that involuntary servitude?

But wait a minute, doesn't the Constitution require that people who are accused of crimes be given legal services? Isn't that basically the same thing? The Sixth Amendment states in relevant part, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, (...) and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."

The Sixth Amendment's right to counsel is another "negative right," not a "positive right." It states that the government cannot use it near limitless powers against you by accusing you of a crime without making sure that you have someone to advocate your side, even if the government has to pay the legal bill. Only government can declare what is a crime. Only government can prosecute people accused of crimes. Therefore, a limited government must have limitations on its power to regulate the governed through the criminal process. The limitation on that government power is to ensure every accused person has an opportunity to resist the government by having a trial, a jury of peers, and an attorney to help present the case.

But dying is even worse than going to prison. Shouldn't the government do something about healthcare? Government does not have the power to bestow sickness. (At least not the type caused by bacteria or virus). Therefore, there is no inherent countervailing responsibility except in the case of soldiers who are sent into harm's way on our behalf.

If government can give you the right to demand medical goods and services, can't government take away your right to drink caffeine, the right to purchase and eat fatty foods, etc. Would the government have the power to compel you against your will to purchase health insurance or engage in morning exercises like they do in China? Remember, those who believe that they can offer you rights surely also believe that they can take rights away.

Like the hero and heroin in the "B" movie horror film, let us hope that our elected representatives continue to fight against this monster until it is finally vanquished.

Then pray that there are no more sequels.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Wholeheartedly in agreement, If nothing else people should see the RED flags waving when they say we will be fined if we don't buy into the plan. Its about obama getting his name in the history books numerous times, I wish he would expend all this effort on job creation, then maybe our country could move forward again.

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Mon, Mar 8, 2010, at 8:10 AM

Our health care system is broken for many reasons. The biggest one, I believe is that it has turned from a calling into a money making proposition for a number of those in health care industry. Not so the general practitioners as their salaries aren't that high after taking out the overhead of malpractice insurance and the need to order all those "cover your butt" diagnostics. Health insurance companies are like banking investment firms and have no goal of keeping people well. Look at Blue Cross/Shield in California who wants to raise rates over 40% this year even when it's profit margin has been high.

My husband had to go to an emergency room in Ontario Canada several years ago. Nothing too serious, some burns to hands and arms. They cleaned and dressed the burns and gave him a tetanus booster. Since he was not a Canadian citizen he had to pay cash...A whopping $75. Total for MD AND ER fee. Here WITH insurance our deductible is $150 and would be a lot more if we had to pay cash. Sure there are problems with Canada's health care as there are no whopping fees for procedures like MRI's not as many facilities have MRI's so there might be a waiting list. Same with some of the cancer treatments. Their trade off has been to keep MORE people healthy instead of providing the heroic measures for the few. Could we not have a similar system and then offer additional insurance if individuals want that extra coverage? Wealthy Canadians come here to get those procedures...Wealthy Americans go to India for procedures that their insurance doesn't cover...things like gastric bypass and cosmetic surgeries [especially those after injuries/burns/mastectomies].

What happens now is that those without insurance go to use the ER when either preventative care or a general practitioner would suffice, thus jacking up the ER cost to everyone so as to make up for their loss in revenue.

All the "pork" put into what congress has tried to pass [including the rest of the US paying for Nebraska's healthcare in perpetuity as their representative in congress was literally bribed to vote for it]is bad due to all the pork barrel itmes written into it as well as the stupid democrat vs republican power mongering that is taking place. Like the banking system, our federal gov is broken but we have nothing to replace it. Evan Bayh got out just in time though I am not sure about his reasons being so pristine either. His wife is on some board of large investment firm that benefited from bail outs. A mess all the way around.

Since we cannot go back to the days where a sack of potatoes was sufficient to pay for a doctor's services due to suit/money hungry people in this country we have to find some way to provide basic services to all without having to provide the gold standard to all as well that just isn't affordable. While some don't like a government run system as it would not be perfect, I might remind you that we already have that and it is called medicare. Many of those in retirement pay additional premiums on top of it so they can have more coverage. Why can't we go with something like that so all can be covered and then try to improve on that over time using Canada as a model from which to choose what we like while not choosing what we don't. Instead of taxing health insurance that has more coverage, extend our system of medicare to all and then put the secondary coverage out there on the market with the private insurance sector as it is now so people can choose what they want to pay for. Like any pool of insured, the premiums of the well cover the cost of the sick. With limits on coverage as done in medicare, that could be accomplished and then the secondary insurance can be worked out as is done with the retired who buy it. we are all paying for those covered in medicare already. Our rates should go down as the medicare coverage goes up for that basic coverage. That cost would transfer then over to taxes for the government run program.

The biggest problem is that those in congress won't vote for a program that wasn't their idea unless they are getting something back for supporting it. One side isn't any more innocent that the other either.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, Mar 8, 2010, at 12:42 PM

Dear Jenny,

Your comments are well thought out, pragmatic, and based on common sense. However, it is not only bad ideas that are unconstitutional. Good ideas can be unconstitutional as well.

Our constitution was thoroughly debated and very well thought out. It was entirely premised on maximizing individual liberty and restraining government. While there are freedom enhancing methods which could reduce the cost of healthcare while increasing its availability, none of those ideas are being considered at this time.

Moreover, as you point out, it is extremely rare for someone in the U.S. to not receive medical care. The elderly have medicare, the poor have medicaid, and emergency rooms are required to treat all emergencies that present even if they cannot pay. It is just that we the healthy are paying out the nose to cover government compliance, malpractice prevention, insurance bureaucracy, and unpaid emergency room visits.

At this point, doing nothing is better than surrendering significant liberty. My brother practiced medicine in a suburb of London for two years. That experience completely changed his mind about government healthcare. He went there thinking it was better for the patients. He came back overwhelming convinced that it was much worse.

Thank you very much for your great commentary.

Charles Hear

-- Posted by Charles Hear on Mon, Mar 8, 2010, at 6:25 PM

Jenny, I always enjoy reading your thoughts and I usually find myself agreeing with you. But of all the postings I've read of yours, I think this one may be your best. Ever thought about running for office? Seriously?

The biggest problem with this healthcare debate is simply that we have too many elected officials that are too worried about the next election, or their "interest group".

Healthcare is broken and failure to act in some fashion will hinder those who already don't have insurance. Yes they may get seen, but we all know that will not be treated the same.

The joke is (and why don't people realize this???) the insured are without question paying for the uninsured now. Why do you think doctors and hospitals charge what they do? It is because they know there is a certain segment of their business they will not get reimbursed for by conventional means. So they charge the ones they do get reimbursed for even more to make up for it. This is fact.

Ever been to the body shop after a car accident? What is the first thing they all ask you? And I do me all. The first thing they ask..."is this an insurance job?" Why do they ask this? There is one reason and one reason only. Because if it is an "insurance job" then there is a whole other level of charges they will be working with.

I always ask them why they need to know that. And I have had a couple even admit that if I'm paying for it, they can give me a break. Who do they think is paying the insurance premiums? But you get the mindset. And I'm here to tell you, healthcare is no different.

So why not bring everything above board and attempt to make everyone who uses the system to have a stake in it?

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Mon, Mar 8, 2010, at 7:12 PM

Clay County Guy:

Health care is not always like car repair...Many in network providers agree to knock off some of their fee if the insured person is part of a specific network, so it can occur that the insured person gets charged LESS than the uninsured.


You misunderstood my statement: Though I stated that when a person goes to an ER, they do not get turned away, that is NOT the same as everyone getting health care. ER care is immediate treatment for a critical problem even if misused by some. So many have to ignore or self medicate and only go to ER when problem is out of control and treatment and health cost is a lot higher. Health care is a process, not an event. It's the lack of preventative and long term treatment that cause many of these unnecesary ER visits. Complications of untreated diabetes and other conditions land in ER when they could be avoided if person had access to minimal health care.If everyone got halfway decent health care we wouldn't need places like St Ann Clinic. I suggest ANY ONE who thinks that everyone has access to health care go talk to Sister Connie Kramer over there sometime. She will tell you about all the people who fall through the cracks in our health care system. We have several doctors and other health care professionals donating their time over there as well as people supporting them financially so they can help their fellow man because others are not willing to via government program. The government should look to them as an example of helping many with so little.

I will even use this opportunity to remember them when you don't need a pair of crutches, a wheelchair, a walking boot or any other medical device that is still usable. In addition to monetary support they recycle these to their patients. As a matter of fact I will challenge anyone who has insurance to donate the in network provider discount they get to the clinic. A small amount at times but could make a huge difference to so many.

St Ann's Parish has also opened a dental clinic to complement the health clinic which works in a similar way.

Here's wishing you a good and healthy day.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 7:22 AM

Jenny, my point is that regardless of what the uninsured are charged, they likely are going to be unable to pay it. An uninsured person goes to the ER and runs up a $4000 bill (which doesn't take much service to get to that), even if they knock off half of that, the typically uninsured person is no more capcable of paying the $2000 than they were the original cost. But even if thats the case, why was the hospital charging the $4000 to begin with if $2000 was going to be sufficient for them? It is because sometimes they may actually get the $4000.

Really my argument is...people say want their elected officials to keep Obama and the democrats from turning this into a socialist country. I guess its all in how you define socialism, because I always thought that socialism is where those who have money help pay for those who don't. Folks, we already have that with this current system. The ones that can pay (the insured) are charged more for their services to make up for the ones (the uninsured) that the hospital knows they will never get a dime from.

Now some would say that my car insurance analogy still doesn't apply because you can avoid the mandate of carrying auto insurance simply by not driving and eliminating the risk. I say it still applies because we all, by being living and breathing human beings, are automatically at risk of having our health being compromised at any given moment. So if the state can mandate people having coverage for auto accidents, then why is it unreasonable to try to do the same with health insurance the affects every single person in the United States of America?

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 7:58 AM

I agree with you 100% Charles, however, I think there is one thing we are over looking. You mention several times within your blog about our "rights". I am sorry, but if we had rights, how could they be taken away? ie..gun control,laws saying you can't vote with a criminal record, items such as these.

Yes we have the right to life, (Roe VS. Way), liberty, only if you live by the "governments rules" and stay out of jail. And the pursuit of happyness. Which everyone's ideal happyness is not always the same as anothers. My ideal happyness would be "no taxes", like that is going to happen.

So where are these so called "rights". I am sorry but I don't see rights as the government does. I see what they are considering rights as nothing more than "privileges". And even those can be taken away at their descrission. God gave us the rights we are born with like to breath air, have clean water,companionship, and to worship the God of our choice...everything else is just privileges that human kind allow each other to entertain until a law is passed to take away that so called right. You can not take away a "right", if you can...then it is no longer a right but a priviledge.

So what we have is a Bill of Priviledges, subject to change depending on who's in office and who has the most money to empower the change.

Maybe I am getting cranky in my old age, but I am really tired of big government. When we started letting government tell us who we could marry, what women can and can't do to their bodies, why God can't be in the schools, how to decipline our children and how old you have to be before you can enjoy these privileges, where is the enjoyment of a "free society"? I know exactly where..The Fairy Tale Book!

-- Posted by Keeping An Open Mind on Thu, Mar 11, 2010, at 3:14 PM

I can see why some people are weary of a government run healthcare insurance system. But I see it a bit different then most people.

I am just asking how worried you are of our fiscal responsibility. Were you that worried about the cost of all the bombs sent to Iraq? Were you concerned about all the equipment over there being stolen or sold to other countries? Were you concerned about anything like this? I just do not remember any outrage concerning the cost. What I do recall is how proud you were of the devastation, and the dollar signs in the eye of Tom Brokow as he mentioned the Oil is ours now.

I have personally experienced 24 deaths in my family in the last 9 years. Half of those deaths, were due to lack of insurance, or poor health care due to a sick industry. No one understands more than I do, that human life should not be a commodity. Health care should not be a priviledge, it should be our privilegde to organize good health care for all no matter who you are or what your history. In my experience in the life and death situations of family, those I loved were nothing more than a number taking up space. I had one neice tossed in a bed after surgery at near midnight and left unattended all night only to find she died of a clot during the night without notice, she died alone.When she arrived with a broken hip, they wouldn't even put her in a stretcher, but placed her in a wheel chair...she had no insurance, and so she was treated as a deadbeat,a low life. Do not tell me she was treated like an American or even a human being. Another example, I have seen doctors have to send home my sick sister after thirty days because the insurance company will not pay anymore...only to return in 72 hours...after being tossed back and forth she went to a rehab where if she didn't do her physical therapy she was to be released. They bullied her into movement and so stressed was she that she died too young. Do not talk to me about socialism because it seems like a very huge pot of sorry contradiction to one's good principles of right and wrong to me. When you have such great losses to a sick health industry and you cry about the cost, you all cry about this and that...I take it very personally. I can certainly see how such an industry became what it is today.

If we had put into place a good healthcare system 20 years ago, I probably would still be calling my Mother, my sister, my neice, my aunt, my cousins,my nephews...they would probably still be living beings enjoying life.

I think we have seen what happens when private industry takes over - and I am more than willing to trust my government, because we the people have some control over what happens. If you don't trust government run anything, than do not sign up for medicare, because it stinks of hypocrisy to me, and yes I can applaud our democrats for trying to fix what is been very broken for many years. I am glad we have someone in there that knows my pain...

-- Posted by Pearl2083 on Sun, Apr 18, 2010, at 10:43 AM

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