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On July 11th, Dr. Chris Cassells, CRI’s Director for Healthcare Policy, spoke at the Delaware Bastiat Society meeting. His talk was on how Affordable Care Act (ACA) was going to change the way medicine will be practiced in America.

In addition to mentioning the potential rationing and unaffordability of ACA, he wanted to give the audience a sense of WHY many different groups were either supporting the law or staying quiet on it. Granted, not every member of any group will support what the group does, but this was his explanation:

Insurance companies- On the one hand, the law will essentially wipe out private insurance by 2017 and force single-payer healthcare, unless something changes between now and then. However, in the short term, the insurance companies are expecting lots of new customers, since people as of January 1 will be legally required to have health insurance. Since most insurance companies view profit from quarter to quarter rather than worry about 3-4 years from now, many insurance company executives are content.

state and local governments-Government agencies, with very few exceptions, are not exempt from ACA. Many state and local governments are in debt and do not have money. For them, the ability to shift the cost of employee healthcare to the federal taxpayer is appealing. While many do not understand this only makes everyone pay for everyone else’s health care (some of that local or state government’s taxpayers are also federal taxpayers), they may see this is as a way to offload debt, so they are content.

Hospitals- Hospitals will now be legally required to see ALL patients, regardless of whether or not patients can pay for the cost of care. However, now that the government will pay for charity care, it may not matter as much if they do, since people the hospitals might treat for free or at a reduced cost can be paid for by the government. In addition, if older doctors retire as many of their peers seem to think will happen, hospitals may absorb smaller practices and have less competition from small private practices and smaller community hospitals. Not a big win for the hospitals, but not necessarily a loss either. The hospital executives are content.

Doctors- They have been promised by the government that the excessive paperwork requirements (Did you know doctors typicall have 2-3 hours A DAY worth of paperwork on patients to fill out?) since the government will just “take care of” the paperwork by setting doctors fees. Also, now that charity care will be paid for, the doctors themselves can get paid for doing work they used to do for free. Who would say no to that? Especially since legally they are to be paid for charity services. Although many doctors will retire or switch to concierge care, or will refuse insurance altogether, some business-savvy doctors may be able to come out ahead, or sell their practices to a hospital for a fee. Most doctors are dissatisfied with the law, and some like Dr. Casscells are going public with their concerns. But more than a few doctors are content.

Employers- The Obama administration recently announced they will have a 1 year delay on the employer mandate. There is no incentive to keeping employees on the company healthcare plan, plus ACA has made many plans expensive by mandating coverage for certain things which used to not be covered by insurance. Therefore, companies see an easy way out: pay the fines and dump healthcare coverage to the exchanges. While the taxpayers overall will shoulder a higher burden for paying for thee newly uninsured, the companies from an individual standpoint will pay the fines and avoid paying for expensive healthcare. That is, if the company can afford the fines in the first place; many businesses cannot and will go out of business, or be unable to expand past the magic 49 employee marker. Most business owners are discontented, but a few lucky ones are content.

You, John Q. Public-the Individual mandate has not been repealed, so in 6 months barring some change the IRS will mail out forms to individuals making us prove we have health insurance or else we will all pay the fine. The fines start small for 2 years, then really shoot up. The definition of poverty is so high individuals making less than $46,000 a year or $88,000 a year for families can qualify for a health exchange subsidy. Most Americans fall into these categories, meaning everyone will end up paying for everyone else’s health care; that is, unless you pay no taxes and receive credits, in which case you will actually gain from ACA. For some, especially those with a “pre-existing condition” or who are very poor and cannot afford health insurance, ACA will help you. For healthier people or for those above the poverty threshold, this is not a win. For the top 5% of taxpaying Americans, this is a loss since you will bear the heaviest brunt of paying for subsidies. Most Americans in poll after poll show disapproval of ACA, but there is a large minority who approve and are content.

At the end of the day, ACA is about promising people whatever they want to hear: for individuals and employees, free unlimited health care. For doctors and employers, less paperwork and for doctors, pay for previously free care. Hospitals can gain less competition, insurance companies have new customers, and government agencies can offload debt to the federal government. What will happen to health care in America over the coming years? Is all of the negativity overhyped and inaccurate? Or will healthcare truly decline in America? We will see.

Note: The Culling of the Herd was the name of a 2009 editorial by Dr. Casscells, saying he believed the future of medicine would be government-run, more expensive, and lower quality. On July 11, 2013 in a speech to the Delaware Bastiat Society, he remarked that “not only was I right, but I was even more correct than I thought, and it happened even faster than I thought”.

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Obama administration officials are illegally delaying enforcement of a central provision in the president’s namesake legislation in a desperate attempt to manipulate the 2014 midterm elections and swell the ranks of those who look to government for healthcare.

Section 1513 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, better known as Obamacare) requires all large employers to provide health insurance for their employees. “Large employers” are those with at least 50 full-time employees, and “full-time” is defined as averaging 30 or more hours per week.

Section 1513’s “Employer Mandate” is one of five parts of the ACA that are absolutely essential for this government-run system to work, with the most well-known of those five being the infamous “Individual Mandate” upheld by the Supreme Court as a tax by a controversial 5-4 decision in 2012.

And the Employer Mandate is mandatory. The law Congress wrote explicitly commands that this provision takes effect in January 2014. The ACA does not permit the government to grant a reprieve or an extension.

Yet in a blatantly illegal move, the Obama administration is presuming to rewrite the ACA by choosing not to enforce provisions that are causing visible problems. The IRS—which is tasked with enforcing the Employer Mandate—will simply not enforce it until 2015. Every large employer in the country is under the mandate. If they don’t comply, then they are breaking federal law.

But the IRS not enforcing Section 1513 is like a policeman who patrols a stretch of road who says for the next year, he won’t issue any speeding tickets. He has no authority to suspend the law, but if he chooses to violate his duty by failing to enforce the law, then to all the motorists on the road it’s as if the law does not exist.

However, the White House is doing nothing to stop Section 1501’s Individual Mandate. Almost every American is still being commanded to buy insurance or face a penalty (now called a “tax” by the Supreme Court). If you work at a large company, you might be on your own and need to buy insurance somewhere else.

This will force millions of Americans instead to purchase insurance on government-run healthcare exchanges. Not able to get insurance at work, and not able to buy full-price policies on the individual market because of the enormous increase in prices resulting from the ACA’s laundry list of new entitlements and mandates, these individuals will buy it on a state-based exchange where the prices are heavily subsidized by taxpayers.

It’s worth noting that the ACA only subsidizes insurance policies on an exchange run by a state. Yet 34 states have refused to join this government-run debacle, so in those states the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will set them up.

This is why the IRS issued a regulation last year saying that these tax credits for state-run exchanges also extend to HHS-run exchanges. Several lawsuits are now underway challenging the IRS Rule, and they should quickly lead to federal courts striking down the regulation.

In the meantime, though, this will drive millions of Americans onto government-run healthcare, conditioning them to think of it as an entitlement. By promising them all the benefits now but delaying the massive costs until after the 2014 midterm election, Obama and his team hope to buy themselves a couple years to make this system work.

Bad policy makes for bad politics, however; sooner or later everyone has to pay the piper.

Whether Obamacare remains the law of the land will be at the center of that national discussion for 2016. Suspending the Employer Mandate just added to that debate.

Ken Klukowski is on faculty at Liberty University School of Law and is one of the lawyers involved with Obamacare litigation.

Read the original article at Breitbart.com following this link: http://bit.ly/1cPnmMr

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/07/02/White-House-Illegally-Delays-Employer-Mandate-to-Avoid-2014-Election-Disaster-and-Grow-Government-Run-Exchanges

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Jessica Kuperavage, CRI’s newest intern, has some thoughts on what is making healthcare so  expensive. The big problems is that people who pay little or nothing at all for health services are more likely to use them since there is no penalty for doing so. This is one reason why emergency rooms bill heavily for using their services: the idea is to cut down on people using the emergency room so the ER is saved for emergencies. Government involvement in healthcare also negatively affects the cost.

Why is Healthcare so Expensive? Understanding the Cost/Service Disconnect

One of the contributing reasons for the cost of medicine and medical services is the result of the fact that the people receiving the services – patients – are not directly paying for them, but are instead contributing a co-pay for a service that is largely paid by their insurance companies.

The disconnect between services and costs has consequences for the price and practice of medicine. Among them are the following: medical fees escalate, patient consumption of medical goods and services escalate, and medical innovation escalates.

Medical fees escalate: Insured patients and Medicaid/Medicare recipients often do not compare costs between medications and medical care providers. The information is difficult to obtain, and comparing costs is not a priority when immediate care is required. Furthermore, patients do not have the incentive to compare costs when a third party will cover a significant portion of the bill.

The lack of a medical free market, combined with direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising and limited study data available to physicians, can also result in patients being prescribed medications that are expensive, but no more effective than treatments that are decades old and far cheaper. When the bulk of the cost is paid by a third party, such as an insurer, patients are less likely to consider whether a therapy is worth its cost.

Consumption escalates: Patients whose medical bills are paid primarily through insurance or governmental programs make more frequent trips to the doctor. While checkups are an important part of preventive care, more excessive use of medical services yields no patient benefit. According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the overuse of medical services accounts for as much as 30% of healthcare expenditures between 1978 and 2009. By definition, overuse is the application of screenings or treatments that have no positive health benefit or are more harmful to the patient than helpful.

Some types of screenings, while very common (and very expensive), have little or no positive effect on patient health. For instance, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against screening for prostate cancer in men, stating that, due to the slow progression of the cancer and the serious side effects that frequently occur as a result of existing treatments, “many men are harmed as a result of prostate cancer screening and few, if any, benefit.” Prostate cancer rarely affects men’s quality of life or causes death, while treatment for prostate cancer can leave men incontinent and impotent.

While pressure for tests and medications can come from patients, physicians also become more likely to schedule additional health screenings as a means of preventing patient lawsuits. Although it may reduce malpractice claims, this practice is costly and frequently provides no benefit to the patient. Because patients do not pay most of the cost out-of-pocket, they comply with these recommendations for extraneous procedures.

Innovation escalates: Even if there was no inflation in health care costs as a result of reliance on insurance and governmental programs, many common therapies would be beyond the reach of consumers due to high costs. Insurance companies make MRIs and other expensive procedures accessible, and also make new procedures feasible for hospitals to provide to patients.

The influx of funds into health services also helps to drive further research, which can benefit patients. Medical and pharmaceutical research is lengthy, expensive, and only occasionally yields effective new treatments. Pharmaceutical companies offer pro bono expanded access programs, which provide experimental therapies to terminal patients who meet the FDA’s guidelines.

While some benefits occur, disconnecting cost from service causes many problems. Expanding governmental control over healthcare will exacerbate these.

 

Sources:

Baicker, Katherine et al. “The Oregon Experiment: The Effects of Medicaid on Clinical Outcomes,” The New England Journal of Medicine, 368 (2013)

Boodman, Sandra G. “Concern is Growing that the Elderly Get too many Tests,” Kaiser Health News, 12 September 2011 http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2011/september/13/overtesting.aspx

“FDA Expands Access to Investigational Drugs,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2009 http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm176845.htm

Goldacre, Ben, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients (New York: Faber and Faber, Inc, 2012)

Korenstein, Deborah, et al. “Overuse of Health Care Services in the United States: An Understudied Problem,” Archives of Internal Medicine, 172:2 (2012)

Moon, Marilyn, “Confronting the Rising Costs of Healthcare in Medicare and Medicaid,” Generations, 25:1 (2005)

Reidenberg, Marcus M. “PSA Screening for Prostate Cancer,” Weill Cornell Medical College, 11 February 2012 http://weill.cornell.edu/cert/patients/prostate_cancer_screening.html

“Screening for Prostate Cancer,” U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, May 2012 http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/prostatecancerscreening.htm

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An excellent op-ed by Michael Barone in the New York Post. The point he makes is that those who voted for the law don’t understand the concept of insurance: to protect you from expensive and unlikely causes. It’s why auto insurance doesn’t cover routine oil changes, but does cover bodily injury and collision. It’s why people buy healthcare policies for ER visits but not routine checkups.
The other point he makes is that businesses who employ lower-skill workers, especially those who are unlikely to work someplace for a long time, are the least likely to pay for a huge premium for employee health care.

From the article:

“Wonder what a “skinny” or “low-benefit” insurance plan is? The terms may vary, but the basic idea is that policies would cover preventive care, a limited number of doctor visits and perhaps generic drugs. They wouldn’t cover things such as surgery, hospital stays or prenatal care.

That sounds similar to an auto-insurance policy that reimburses you when you change the oil but not when your car gets totaled.”

For some high-paying jobs in demand, it may make sense to offer a full healthcare package. But for these jobs it does not. Now that health insurance will be required to cover pretty much anything and everything, including routine checkups, expect more part-time workers without employer-sponsored healthcare, which will eventually drive up everyone’s taxes in order to pay for the subsidies the workers will need to buy healthcare on the exchanges. The question is, is this a deliberate intention of the law, or did the people who wrote the law simply not foresee these issues?

Read the full article:http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/another_enormous_obamacare_oops_vY4KousCRUXPprm4FgGc2I

 

Read the full article: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/another_enormous_obamacare_oops_vY4KousCRUXPprm4FgGc2I

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2013 is already upon us, and three days in things are headed downhill. Congress just passed a bill to respond to the so-called “fiscal cliff” by increasing EVERYONE’S taxes at least a little bit, and a lot if you have a high income (note: if your money comes from investments and assets, such as Warren Buffett, your taxes will be unchanged). More battles will come up on the debt ceiling, automatic defense cuts, and future budget deals (if any come), and no doubt the partisanship will continue.

Delaware has its own problems to deal with: unfunded pension liabilities, out of control Medicaid spending, bad deals with Fisker and Bloom Energy, education performances moving sideways and not up, and taxes such as the gross receipts taxes which harm business growth. These are just a sample of the issues facing the state. While CRI would like to resolve every major issue within the state, that is not very likely.

Therefore CRI will spend 2013 focusing on three elements: improving education standards, discouraging corporate subsidies, and preventing the state from passing any legislation which pushes single-payer healthcare by abolishing private healthcare insurance.

Education reform will be CRI’s top priority in 2013. There is general consensus that the education system as currently structured is not serving the students well, particularly those in areas like Wilmington and Dover, where parents usually do not have the  financial means to send their children off to private schools, and who cannot be guaranteed a slot in the charter schools due to bureaucratic processes. CRI is calling for legislative actions to allow the money to “follow the student”, where parents have options such as Education Savings Accounts (ESA) that give parents the financial opportunity to choose where they want to educate their child. We hope to inform and engage the public and the legislators into some serious action this year that will give students a big victory for their future.

Our second goal is to reduce, if not eliminate, subsidies for preferred businesses and special interest friends of the government. Bloom Energy and Fisker Automotive are two prime examples of the government handing over “subsidies” for “investment” in these companies, meaning hundreds of millions in tax dollars to give to these companies, money we will in reality never receive payback for. There is no industry in Delaware receiving taxpayer money that can be said to be worth the corporate welfare. Our aim is to educate the public and legislators, and push Delaware to either reduce/eliminate current government subsidies to preferred parties, or else to agree to prohibit future government subsidies via “corporate welfare”.

Our third goal will be to discourage the Legislature from passing any bill which bans private health insurance in favor of “single payer” government. While CRI acknowledges the issues in containing healthcare costs, such as Tort reform, allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines, and using means-tested methods to determine who qualifies for Medicare or Medicaid as opposed to just handing it out to anyone who asks, there is no way the government can raise all the taxes needed to pay for this without destroying job opportunities or sending them out of state. Plus, the government will not be able to manage the insurance aspects of healthcare policy without setting up a massive, inefficient bureaucracy, just like they do with everything else.

What do you think? Are there any goals CRI should work for that are no mentioned above?

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As the fall elections approach, the campaign season really begins now.  Voters will begin seeing and hearing ads and speeches from candidates and PAC’s (political action committees) who are not known for telling voters the truth-whether it’s on the candidate’s voting record, things the candidate has said in his or her past, publicly or privately, things the candidate has done in his or her own past, or even on the issues themselves and why they matter. The odds of getting the full truth about the candidates and issues this fall are as likely as seeing the Washington Redskins or Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl this year-you can wish for it all you like, and sure MAAAYBE it will happen, but the chances are, you aren’t going to get what you hope for (not a hater- I’m just being realistic based on past history).

The Caesar Rodney Institute was founded four years ago to change the way people think about certain issues. Unlike political candidates, we aren’t there to collect votes; we provide our information free of charge. We do not publish anything unless we are absolutely sure the data has been independently verified for accuracy. We do not try to scare you into hysterical actions with no thought; we invite all to read the blogs, read our editorials and research studies, and participate with us in teaching the public about the principles which made America great: the freedom of choice in life: choice in where to live, what occupation to have, choice in what to say, who to donate to, or anything else which makes you happy and prosperous. Everyone is welcome to agree or disagree with CRI’s findings, we are about freedom of speech and ideas.

This is the key part of the blog post today: how to teach the free-market system to those who have been deluded by “progressive regressives” (they call themselves progressives but what they really want is a monarchical czar-like system where bureaucrats make all the decisions for us peons-something that went out of style decades ago) into believing the government is their friend. That these eeeevil corporations and businesses just  want to “get you” because of their greed-and only the “big brother” government can “protect your rights” from these evil people who just want to get you. As if the government is never greedy or doesn’t have enough power already.
They also demonize anyone who believes as we do that the government should return to its original intent as specified by the Constitution-both the US Constitution and the Delaware Constitution.

So your job, not only this fall but always, is to educate the public about why free-market philosophies work. Here are some tricks to try at home with friends, family, classmates, neighbors, co-workers, employees, employers, etc.:

1. Give them a bag full of random goodies. Ask them if they are happy with what they have. Now offer them items you are sure they desire more than what was in that bag-this is the essence of free trade: the freedom to obtain things of value to you and for them to obtain things of value to them. Why? Value is subjective. I value a bag of Kit-Kats more than I value a bag of York Peppermint Patties. If I had the patties, I’d be less happy, and maybe someone who doesn’t like Kit-Kats, or who can’t eat chocolate/candy, will also be unhappy. Under the Statist system pushed by these “regressive”,  the government determines the value of goods., regardless of whether you want those services or not .This is called “price control”. You see this in monopolies all the time-it’s the reason  why when purchasing you have to purchase the cable digital box with over 200 channels, even if you only want 10 of them, all for a very high price: in the absence of competition, there is no incentive for the provider to do a good job. Not happy with your electric bill from your utility company, or your local government agency? Too bad. They have a monopoly, and they can do what they want.

2. Explain to people the dangers of being in debt. Ask people what their credit card statements look like. Then ask what will happen if they never pay off the full amount, or if they fail to pay at all, what will happen to them. You know the answer: the credit card companies will eventually come after them, deny those people who spend unwisely more credit, and the credit card company can repossess your items to pay for the debt. Now ask these people if they really think the US and Delaware can continue being in debt with no consequence. “Taxing the rich” doesn’t work because even if you take 100% of the money from the top 5% of people, you can’t pay down your debts and continue to spend unwisely. And if they really think there are no consequences for overspending in the government-see what is happening to Greece, Spain, Italy, and California.

2. When you hear someone tell you that more government spending is the key to fixing the economy,Give a person three one-dollar bills and then pull out a dollar bill. Then ask for one of your dollars back. Ask that person if both of you are wealthier because the wealth was “redistributed”. Assuming they say no, but insist the government is still wonderful, ask them how the government gets its money. All government bodies get it in three ways: raising taxes (taking money from one person to give to another), borrowing (say from China or some other entity which does not operate in the best interests of America or Delaware), or in the case of the Federal Government, printing it (causing inflation). The government cannot create wealth because it doesn’t create value: all it does is provide for some services that the private sector could not, or should not, do (examples: military, coin tender, act as an arbitrator for legal disagreements). Stimulus fails because all it does is take money from one group to give to another; explain to your neighbors that for one group to benefit, say solar companies, that means someone else ( a bakery for example) has to pay more in taxes and thus cannot hire more people or expand services. Redistribution of the wealth, via higher taxes and fees, does not “stimulate” the economy, because it is impossible: wealth was merely transferred, not created.

3. If you hear someone talk about the benefits of providing “access” to health care for more people, and how healthcare is “going to be better now”, tell them they have ten seconds to count to ten. Then, tell them to count to ten and write their name ten times on a piece of paper in ten seconds. Then, tell them to count to ten, write their names on a piece of paper ten times, and also separate a bag of M & M’s (or Skittles or whatever you like) by color. All in ten seconds. When they inevitably complain this is impossible, ask them how they can expect doctors to treat more patients and do more tasks without an increase in the numb The ACA will add 30 million people who currently don’t have health insurance to the system, and promise them it’s “free”. For example, many people have been told they now have a “free” annual checkup. Think about how long you sit in the doctor’s office now. Now imagine say 200 more people trying to see your same doctor. You think it will be faster? You think the doctor will do just as good a job as he did before he had to take on more patients? This has to be communicated to patients. Also, doctors typically spend 2-3 hours a day on paperwork. Just wait until they have more patients to take care of!

To be fair, we are not saying every provision of the bill is bad: for people with pre-existing conditions who were unable to buy insurance, or for young people (such as myself) who cannot afford an ever-expensive health care policy, being able to have those things is nice. Also, for some people, access to certain types of care would be less restricted under the new bill. But the negative aspects of this bill outweigh the good that comes with it.

Try these exercises out, or come up with your own. What matters is that people understand the principles of why the  free-markets matter. Any problem we have, healthcare, education, energy, economic, social-ALL can be fixed with the principles of the free markets. Over the coming months CRI will be educating the public about these principles and how to teach others them. By ourselves, we cannot get this job done: with all of you, we can change people’s minds and lives for the better.

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            When the founders spoke of limited government they meant it.  Washington’s first administration consisted of the Departments of War for security, State for diplomacy to avoid war, the Attorney General to maintain the Rule of Law, and the Treasury to raise the money for the other three departments, mainly through tariffs, and to provide a stable currency to promote commerce.  The budget was an estimated 2% of the new nation’s economy.  The Revolution was the culmination of a two century pursuit of individual liberty over tyrannical monarchies.  Individualist virtues of independence, self reliance, individual initiative, local responsibility, voluntary cooperation, willingness to bear risk, non-interference with one’s neighbors, tolerance of the different, and a healthy suspicion of power and authority had won out.

            Contrast this with the National Socialist Party in Germany before World War II.  A founding principle of the party was the individual has no rights, only duties.  Government, driven by someone’s ideas of social justice, must have absolute power to organize society for its purposes.  When do individual rights disappear?  Friedrich A. Hayek wrote in his seminal work on the battle between individualism and socialism, “Once the communal sector, in which the state controls all the means, exceeds a certain proportion of the whole, the effects of its actions dominate the whole system.” 

            Hayek, once responsible for collecting economic data in Austria, estimates this occurred in Nazi Germany when the government controlled 53% of the national income.  By the way, if you are looking for a clear understanding of individual liberty, you need to read “The Road To Serfdom”.  Milton Friedman wrote in his introduction of the fiftieth edition in 1994, “Over the years, I have made it a practice to inquire of believers in individualism how they came to depart from the collectivist orthodoxy of our times.  For years, the most frequent answer was a reference to the book for which I have the honor of writing this introduction.”

            Where do we stand on this road to socialism?  By 1900 government spending was only 3% of the nations’ income, by 1950, 24% and by 2009, 47%.  Now add industries targeted by current government initiatives such as private health care and insurance at 7%, banking at 7%, and energy production at 13%, and we will easily exceed the point where government controls everything. 

             Not convinced?

             Read these prophetic lines from Hayek written in 1944, “We can rely on voluntary agreement to guide the actions of the state so long as it is confined to spheres where agreement exists.  But only when the state undertakes direct control in fields where there is no such agreement is it bound to suppress individual freedom.”  Compare this to the clarity we have gotten from those trying to save the health care bill since the Massachusetts election.  They now talk about two key goals of reform and the problems of meeting these goals.  One is to stop insurance companies from refusing coverage to people already suffering medical problems.  But this requires forcing everyone to buy coverage so healthy young people won’t wait until they need coverage.  This mandate comes with fines and even jail terms!  The second goal is to expand coverage to more low income people.  This requires government subsidies so they can afford the premiums.  The money for this must come from the forced transfer of wealth in the form of higher taxes on everyone else.  You already know the penalties for not paying taxes.  This clearly is an example of government passing socialist laws where there is no consensus agreement so it can only be done by suppressing individual freedom.  It is sad some people get caught without coverage but turn to Hayek again for this wisdom, “We shall never prevent the abuse of power if we are not prepared to limit power in a way which occasionally may also prevent its use for desirable purposes”.  Freedom comes with risks.

            This is my first blog.  I wanted to establish the basis for my writing.  Future blogs will address creeping socialism that can only lead to our complete loss of freedom.  It is not enough to slow the creep as Reagan did.  It must be reversed and that will require education.  The majority of people in this country still would tell you they support the individualist virtues summarized in the first paragraph.  They don’t realize how far we have moved in the wrong direction. 

David T. Stevenson 1/27/10

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