Warner Todd Huston
Playing political games with our healthcare
By Warner Todd Huston
June 19, 2009

These days, government lives to feed itself. It's the old "nose in the tent" theory. Give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile. And government never fails to make itself more important with each new generation of self-important pols. Unfortunately and because of this propensity, should we be so foolish as to allow the federal government to take over our healthcare, you and your doctor will find a bureaucrat telling you what to do with your healthcare. Your health will no longer be a matter of what is good for you but will become a political football with an edge toward giving others more and more power over your very life.

There is no end to the examples of the hardhearted, unthinking and foolish decisions affecting people's healthcare coming from bureaucrats in those nations that were foolish enough to allow a government takeover of their medical sector. We've already talked of a few of them here.

As one more example, we can see the PC games being played in Britain where it was recently decreed that "mobile persons" would get preferential medical treatment in the British medical system.

What is a "mobile person" you might ask? This is the politically correct way to describe a gypsy. In the U.S., we are not often confronted with gypsies, but essentially this is a minority community that rarely have fixed addresses, making a living by roving across the country doing odd jobs or seasonal work. There is a long tradition of discrimination against this ethnic minority, often because there is a high crime rate among such people.

Here is the thing: in order to be PC about not offending gypsies, the British healthcare system is now giving any indigent person preferential treatment, shoving them to the head of the medical line regardless of actual health conditions; theirs or anyone else's. This is not a medical decision, it is a political decision. And THIS is what we are in store for here with Obamacare.

But, we don't have to go elsewhere to see politics played with healthcare. It's already happening right here in the U.S. and it happens every day with the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In the Wall Street Journal recently, Daniel Henninger gave us a stark reminder of the good intentions that paved the road to a fiscal hell here in the U.S. between the early days of these two massively wasteful programs and today.

Where did these messy requirements come from? Are they needs identified by doctors meant to help their patients? Are they pleas from patients to help themselves? Neither. They are ideas imposed by politicians for political, not medical reasons.

    After 45 years, the health-care reform called Medicaid has crushed state budgets. A study by the National Governors Association said a decade ago that because of "new requirements" imposed by federal law — meaning Congress — "Medicaid has evolved into a program whose size, cost and significance are far beyond the original vision of its creators."

And it gets worse. Not only do we have non-medically trained politicians annually creating new requirements for healthcare out of whole cloth, but because government is involved, the courts also have an open door get involved.

    Oh, and the courts. The fact that this is a public program ensures not just congressional meddling but also makes it vulnerable to litigation. Over time, the Sotomayors of the federal bench will make it bigger. One piece of California's incredible budget mess flows from a federal judge's 2006 decision to seize control of the state's prison-health system and make the state pay billions for new health spending imagined by his appointed federal overseer.

So, everyone but doctors and patients seem to be in on deciding what medical coverage is necessary, even mandatory.

Of course, Medicare and Medicaid don't directly affect every American (except through a waste of their taxes, of course). But should Obamacare get passed, every American will directly feel the pain that Medicaid and Medicare currently inflict.

All the more reason that Obama should be defeated in his quest.

© Warner Todd Huston


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

More by this author