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.