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If You Like Your Freedom, You Can Keep It

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 13
Publish Date: 
Thu, 12/05/2013

 

In the waiting room of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s radiation treatment center, I discovered that in the race of life, those running to stay on the track are among the most determined, hopeful, and courageous. They’re also grateful, for it’s in the sanctuary of sympathetic and expert care where cancer patients experience calm and clarity after the storm of diagnosis and decision-making.

 

As if living with cancer-induced anxiety weren’t enough, many Sloan-Kettering patients must Think Again about their treatment since the cancer center is among many prominent hospitals no longer “in network” for most Obamacare-compliant insurance plans.

 

Americans already have the world’s best health care system. The question is how to make it broadly accessible, especially to the most vulnerable.  Claiming a monopoly on moral and political virtue and disparaging as uncompassionate obstructionists those who opposed the 2,700-page Affordable Care Act, lawmakers drove its passage promising increased access, lower costs and, “if you like your doctors, you can keep them, period.”

 

Now it’s broken hearts and spirit -- not just broken promises, websites, and insurance systems -- that plague intrepid patients, to their providers’ frustration. Meanwhile, healthy Americans laboring under stagnant wages are recoiling from sticker and doc-shock, proving CS Lewis’ maxim that “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” 

 

“Pay more for less” isn’t a winning slogan, but it’s the truth. The collusion of government and insurance companies to limit competition and consumer choice has impaired Americans’ freedom to be value-oriented shoppers and imperiled our property and privacy rights.

 

Americans want patient-centered and patient-owned health care and an array of competitive choices to assure price stability, service quality, and access to all. But rather than consider targeted and less disruptive changes like insurance portability, tort reform, tax credits and high-risk pools, Obamacare proponents further straightjacketed the healthcare system with one-size-fits-all mandates, taxes, and micro-management by an inept bureaucracy.

 

Yet lawmakers won’t wear the straightjacket they designed for Americans. Senator Reid’s staff is exempted from Obamacare and, according to the Los Angeles Times, Congress and staffers enjoy “more generous benefits packages, VIP customer service from insurers and the same government-subsidized premiums they’ve always enjoyed.”

 

This is government over the people – not our founders’ vision of government of, by and for the people.  They wanted America to be the exception to human history’s rule where tyranny, bondage and stifled human potential defined life for the vast majority. While French revolutionaries were sticking dissenters’ heads on bayonets, America’s revolutionaries established self-government and enshrined popular consent and human equality – the idea that no one by nature can be the ruler of anyone else – in our founding documents.

 

To preserve individual freedom, they designed a government system that separated political powers and dispersed authority, pitting “ambition against ambition” to check political impulsiveness. To force consensual deliberations and thwart large mistakes like Obamacare, the Senate was to be the “necessary fence” against the “fickleness and passion” of the House where transient majorities rule.

 

But lawmakers more interested in advancing partisan agendas than assuring government’s legitimacy and durability have chipped away at the system that enabled American society to become the freest, most productive and most decent in human history. 

 

They’ve passed massive, lobbyist-written and unread laws on party-line votes; concentrated power in the Executive branch and the unaccountable administrative state; and most recently, activated the “Nuclear Option” in the Senate to eliminate the filibuster (a 60-vote threshold requiring consultation with the minority) on Presidential nominees – a two-century old tradition.

 

Ironically, Americans aren’t so polarized. Though politicians exploit wedge issues to foment divisions, we’re united in wanting to limit the size, power and cost of government. We know that to overcome our challenges, individual citizens must wrest decision-making authority away from Washington.

 

Fifty years ago, on the one-hundredth anniversary of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, President Kennedy was en route to Dallas where he was assassinated.  In commemorating these anniversaries, Americans recall why these leaders are revered – because they united us around shared values, summoning us to assure liberty’s survival for subsequent generations. 

 

Kennedy declared, “the cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it,” imploring us to “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for our country.” Lincoln roused a fractured citizenry to finish the soldiers’ work so that “these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

 

Exhausted by democracy’s follies, we should recall these words and heed their advice.

 

Think Again – rather than allow politicians to divide us, remember we’re all freedom-loving Americans eager to realize our full potential in the race of life.

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EXCELLENT column, Melanie!

EXCELLENT column, Melanie! You wrote an astute observation of the REAL fight: LIBERTY vs TYRANNY. I for one, WILL NOT participate in ANY part of this "care" by my government, as it flies in the face of privacy, freedom and worst of all, affordablity. I WILL NOT sign up. I WILL NOT be forced to put my medical records online (where this administration openly takes my private information and stores it in perpetuity), I WILL NOT give this government my right to privacy and thus hand it dominion over my entire life, I WILL NOT pay the fines they impose, and when the government comes to take me away for non-compliance, I WILL HAPPILY GO SIT IN THEIR JAIL to protest this abuse of power!
THIS AGGRESSION WILL NOT STAND, MAN!
Thank you for your column. You do great service to our fellow countrymen.

200+ years ago, on less than

200+ years ago, on less than 20 sheets of paper, we separated from England, created a new nation, and formed the most remarkable form of government the world has ever known. Why does it take 2,700 sheets of paper for me to get a flu shot?

First and foremost my patriot

First and foremost my patriot friend, I am praying for you that you continue to heal quickly. I am glad that you are well. Excellent article also. I do like my freedom and I will continue to fight for liberty every day. If we do not control the rhetoric, we will fall. My husband lost his insurance this year so we are struggling with the decision as to what to do...we couldn't keep our health care...and potentially our doctors...or the hospitals we have access to...I believe in my heart this is a path to a single-payer system and unless we repeal it and reform it altogether, America will never be the same again...we have the best health-care system in the world - why can't we just knead it a little instead of throwing it out as burned toast?...it just doesn't make sense

Great piece Melanie, but we

Great piece Melanie, but we can't blame insurance cos for "collusion" with the govt for this disaster: their new Obamacare policies MUST of economic necessity offer fewer docs and hospitals and cost much more because the idiot Democrats (NO Repubs voted for it) who passed this crazy law insist each policy include very expensive coverage like maternity for menopausal women, etc. rather than letting us CHOOSE our own policies to fit our lives. That's the essence of totalitarian govt -- these geniuses know better than we do and thus seize power literally over our life and death. Rise up against the oppressor, people or this great nation is done.

“Think Again: Rather than

“Think Again: Rather than allow politicians to divide us, remember we’re all freedom-loving Americans eager to realize our full potential in the race of life.”

Unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore. Half want to live under the tyranny of socialism/communism. The other half does not.

My favorite sentence: "The

My favorite sentence: "The collusion of government and insurance companies to limit competition and consumer choice has impaired Americans’ freedom to be value-oriented shoppers and imperiled our property and privacy rights."

Common sense alone would make

Common sense alone would make it obvious that the additional layers of beaurocracy will raise the costs of health care. We are entering into America 3.0, and the old "top-down" control, know-it-all government is 2.0. It's an outdated sytem, meant only to control. Young people "get" it....this isn't their world of nimbleness that they're part of, and without their cooperation, it's never going to be sustainable.

I am standing off to the side

I am standing off to the side on this one. Way to many emotions involved for any sensible discussions. You all make good points and different pov's. We shall see. Good luck.

Well said. Highlights the

Well said. Highlights the REAL discussion: liberty; and the REAL reason this will ultimately fail: unconstitutional abuse of authority. We can't act against our human natures; we can't exist as a free nation without real liberty.

I want a single payer system.

I want a single payer system. I want cheaper health care. This is all coming with the Affordable Care Act. Your head is in the sand. And you are not keeping up with the success' of the ACA. You need much better research if you are going to go off on a right wing tear against the ACA. Pituful article.

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