In all of the recent fervor associated with the Supreme Court’s review of the constitutionality of the individual mandate in “Obamacare”, there has been a great deal of discussion about women’s rights. Cancer screening, mammograms and, quite vocally, birth control have all been topics of conversation as it pertains to the Affordable Care Act. While it’s true that women’s health care issues can be more costly and complicated than men’s, and have been subject to exploitation by insurance companies, is putting all of our faith in the government to administer to women’s needs (and indeed the health care needs of all Americans!) really the way to go?
Depending on whether you’re more inclined to agree with the opinions of donkeys or elephants is likely to dictate how you would answer that question. The real problem that I see with that is the answer is subject to change based upon who is making the rules at the time. I have a very hard time believing that liberals would feel so comfortable about the enactment of “Obamacare” if the law were exactly the same, but passed under the Bush administration. You see, the idea of having the government appoint a panel of individuals to make the health insurance decisions for the entire citizenry of the United States is pretty daunting if the person in charge (Secretary of Health and Human Services), has widely divergent views from one’s own. Under “Obamacare”, the HHS Secretary is solely responsible for making these appointments, and that scares the hell out of me!
Many of the same people who are roundly and vehemently supportive of The Affordable Care Act would be horrified if the same power granted Kathleen Sebelius were given to her predecessor, Mike Leavitt. That is just way too much power to be given to any member of the government, much less a presidential appointee. If progressive women were faced with the prospect of having their health care decisions resting in the hands of a man who once drafted legislation to redefine several forms of birth control as abortion, there would be marches throughout the streets. Sure, most women would probably be happy with the appointments made by Mrs. Sebelius, but let me put another hypothetical scenario out there. Let’s say that “Obamacare” is upheld by the Supreme Court and all of its provisions are put into practice, and Mitt Romney wins the presidency. In an easily foreseeable political move, Mr. Romney then appoints Rick Santorum to be the HHS Secretary. That would put Rick Santorum in charge of appointing the advisory panel to make the health care decisions for every woman in America. Scared?
It scares me too! Despite my relatively conservative political views, I would no more want Rick Santorum or Mike Leavitt in charge of my healthcare than I would want Kathleen Sebelius in the same position. We Americans are not inclined to have so much faith in our government. Our country was created when particularly motivated citizens chose to sail across the Atlantic Ocean rather than be subject to a tyrannical regime. In fact, the original ten amendments to The Constitution (The Bill of Rights) reflect that distrust of centralized government. If you look at the amendments, both individually, and collectively you can see very clearly that the founding fathers created these rights with the idea of guaranteeing our freedom from a controlling central government. The problem with having the government in charge of large portions of our lives is that it must remain ever benevolent. History has shown us that is just not the case. Just within the last decade, there have been two occasions when both houses of congress and the presidency were controlled by a single party. During those times, the party on the outside looking in felt very under-represented.
I, sincerely, believe that my wife and I are the only people who have the right and authority to make the healthcare decisions for our family. The idea that fifteen people appointed by someone, appointed by the President can make the coverage decisions for my children, and indeed the entire population, is stomach turning to me. I find the concept both abhorrent and un-American. My feelings stem not from the legislation’s party of origin, but from the fact that it refuses to respect the origin of our country. The Bill of Rights was made to guarantee individual rights in amendments one through eight, State’s rights in the tenth amendment and limit the power of the federal government in every single one of them. Both liberals and conservatives agree that we need to reform our ridiculously broken health care system, but I don’t think that reform at the expense of liberty is anything other than truly terrifying.