In an age when lawyers and lobbyists negotiate over government handouts under the guise of health reform, we need more than ever to hear from members of working society such as practicing physicians who actually understand and can rectify the problems created by federal intervention into medicine.
Dr. Mike Vasovski has spent the last 20 years as a general physician in Aiken, South Carolina. Prior to that, he served for six years in the US Army Medical Corps where he reached the rank of Captain.
Now, he is now asking to serve the people of the 3rd district of South Carolina in the halls of Congress (www.vasovskiforcongress.com).
Upon graduating from Texas A&M University in 1976 and The University of North Texas's College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1981, Vasovski served in the United States Army's Medical Corp until 1987 achieving the rank of Captain. He entered the military voluntarily and without first receiving a health scholarship. His duties included service at the Wiesbaden Air Force hospital from 1982 to 1984 where he was privileged to assist in the surgical care of U.S. Marines who were injured in the terrorist bombings of their barracks in Beirut in October of 1983.
Military service was something that Dr. Vasovski grew up with. His father was a 26 year veteran of the United States Air Force with service in the Korean War and Vietnam. Military family life does not permit a family to stay long enough in one place to lay down permanent roots. Therefore when asked "where are you from", his answer would have to be, "all over." Born in Pres Quile, Maine, he has lived in 6 states, and up until 1981, called Texas home. He may not have been born in South Carolina, but as the phrase goes, "he got here as soon as he could".
Upon receiving an Honorable Discharge from the Army, Dr. Vasovski entered private general medical practice in Aiken, South Carolina in 1988 and has continued to this day serving the people of Aiken and the surrounding counties. As a solo practitioner, he is also a small business owner and knows full well the burdens placed on them, not the least of which is the current tax system. Being the only physician in his practice has precluded him seeking elected public office and service until such time that family life would permit. That time has come.
Vasovski's desire to seek a high public office is grounded also in other conservative values like the defense of our civil liberties granted in the Constitution that have recently come under attack. During college he was a member of the skeet shooting team at Texas A&M and he believes that Americans should continue to enjoy and benefit from our right to keep and bear arms for whatever legal purpose they desire, according to the Second Amendment.
Being active in the community has always been part of Vasovski's life and he was one of the original founders of the Free Medical Clinic of Aiken. He and Cindy, his wife of 31 years, continue to volunteer there where needy people can partake of health care that is provided free of charges for professional services and generated by and from the voluntary efforts of a large staff of caring, generous and compassionate citizens of Aiken. Dr. Vasovski also volunteered time to function as the Aiken County School District consulting physician for several years. He firmly believes that we are a nation of kind, generous and loving people, who deserve to be represented by leaders who will govern by the principles of honest friendship to other countries, free trade, no entangling alliances and war only when declared by Congress.
Dr. Vasovski has an important viewpoint on the current health debate. He is interested helping the people who receive medical care, not placating a union boss or insurance executive. This is why he does not believe in allowing the government to distort the market through regulation or subsidies.
A Wall Separating Big Business and Big Government
What is socialism? It's a word we hear thrown about quite a lot today, with fears of government takeovers and their increasing domination of private industry. Too often, people think of Socialism only in terms of regulatory practices--government telling private business what to do. What people often forget is that those who hold private power--those who have a lot of money--are also the same people who hold political power. They do not impose regulations that harm themselves. They impose regulations that harm their competition. That's the essence of socialism--when the politically powerful wield their political power to protect and promote their own personal profits.
It's also why the foremost principle of our great Republic must be a separation of private profit from public power. When a politician uses their position to pad their own bank account, we call it corruption. When a company uses their money to influence a politician, however, we call them a special interest. This double standard needs to end, as does the practice of using government to benefit private businesses. The idea that government exists to serve business is just as clearly wrong, and just as dangerous, as the idea that government exists to regulate business. Governments exist to serve the people they represent, not the narrow business interests of a few wealthy and powerful individuals.
It is with this in mind that our forefathers created the constitution--a document defining the limits of public power. This was not an idea that sprang up out of the clear blue. It was an idea that came about because they understood the dangers of letting a government become too powerful--especially a government that could be bought and paid for by the wealthy interests of the world. It's time to put that wall back in place; it's time to get the government out of business, and business out of the government. Let business do what's best for business, and let government do what's best for government.
The Proper Role of Government
Governments exist to serve the people. That's the fundamental idea behind democracy--that people know what's best for themselves, and they should therefore be able to elect representatives that will represent their preferences. Do any Americans honestly think their government acts like a government should? We get offended when people pry their noses into our business--when other people simply assume that we're dishonest criminals. We get offended when other people tell us how to live our lives, or what we should believe, or what health care treatments we should get. Why, then, do we let the government do all of these things? Why don't we get offended when our politicians tell us what products are worth a tax credit, or when our politicians tell us we need to open our bank accounts to government inspectors? Why don't we get offended when our government tells us how long we can water our lawn, or what kind of light bulbs we can put in our houses? These are all actions taken by our government that are not examples of the government serving the people. These are examples of the government ordering people around.
It's time to change that. Americans are not as stupid as our government presumes. We understand that we shouldn't water our lawns in a drought. We can understand what our doctors tell us about the best course of treatment. We can make our minds up about the products we want to buy--we don't need the government giving us tax credits if we buy government-approved merchandise. These are all example of the government overreaching its bounds. It's time to remind Congress that it serves the people--not the other way around.
The current debate has been falsely constructed as a choice between either taking taxpayer money to create a government agency which manages health care or taking taxpayer money to subsidize a private entity which manages health care. The implicit assumption which Democrats are making is that, regardless of the form in which it manifests, they are going to take nearly $1 trillion from working citizens and give it the special interest of their choice.
This view was recently elucidated by the libertarian Congressman Dr. Ron Paul.
Insurance providers seem to have successfully equated health insurance with health care but this is a relatively new concept. There were doctors and medicine long before there was health insurance. Health insurance is not a bad thing, but it is not the only conceivable way to get health care. Instead, we seem to still rely on the creativity and competence of politicians to solve problems, which always somehow seem to be tied in with which lobby is the strongest in Washington.
It is sad to think of the many creative, free market solutions that government prohibits with all its interference. What if instead of joining a health insurance plan, you could buy a membership directly from a hospital or doctor? What if a doctor wanted to have a cash-only practice, or make house calls, or determine his or her own patient load, or otherwise practice medicine outside the constraints of the current bureaucratic system? Alternative healthcare delivery models will be at an even stronger competitive disadvantage if families are forced to buy into the insurance model. And yet, the reforms are sold to us as increasing competition.
In truth, the one reform which would truly improve the health insurance market would not cost anything at all. In fact, it is already law and simply needs to be enforced. That is the Commerce Clause in the 10th amendment of the Constitution which prompts the federal government to protect free trade between states.
The same Congress that wants to tell family farmers what to grow in their backyards has declined "to keep regular" the commercial sale of insurance policies. It has permitted all 50 states to erect the type of barriers that the Commerce Clause was written precisely to tear down. Insurers are barred from selling policies to people in another state.
Instead of being used to ensure free trade, when it comes to health insurance Congress is deceptively and illegally trying to twist the Commerce Clause into the authorization to implement a $10,000 per year mandate on every citizen.
Congress cannot so simply avoid the constitutional limits on its power. Taxation can favor one industry or course of action over another, but a "tax" that falls exclusively on anyone who is uninsured is a penalty beyond Congress's authority. If the rule were otherwise, Congress could evade all constitutional limits by "taxing" anyone who doesn't follow an order of any kind—whether to obtain health-care insurance, or to join a health club, or exercise regularly, or even eat your vegetables.
This type of congressional trickery is bad for our democracy and has implications far beyond the health-care debate. The Constitution's Framers divided power between the federal government and states—just as they did among the three federal branches of government—for a reason. They viewed these structural limitations on governmental power as the most reliable means of protecting individual liberty—more important even than the Bill of Rights.
Yet if that imperative is insufficient to prompt reconsideration of the mandate (and the approach to reform it supports), then the inevitable judicial challenges should. Since the 1930s, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to invalidate "regulatory" taxes. However, a tax that is so clearly a penalty for failing to comply with requirements otherwise beyond Congress's constitutional power will present the question whether there are any limits on Congress's power to regulate individual Americans. The Supreme Court has never accepted such a proposition, and it is unlikely to accept it now, even in an area as important as health care.