Phill Kline
President Obama: "Change is the only moral choice available"
By Phill Kline
September 10, 2009

The President spoke eloquently and forcibly for the need for "reform." He generally outlined some proposals that Americans have supported. His address, however, failed in that it runs counter-intuitive. As my grandmother used to say, "it all comes out in the wash."

The President's proposal cannot provide universal coverage, prevent rationing of care, guarantee continuous coverage and not add a single penny to the deficit. No proposal can.

The President claims this is possible while expanding government's role because government will now root out waste and abuse in its existing Medicaid/Medicare program. The President and the majority political party believe that Americans are so frightened and so dependent that they will buy this false promise. Frighteningly, they may be right.

Policies and actions develop trends which unguided and over time dramatically expand government. The President's admission regarding Medicaid "waste" is recognition of this truth. Those who benefit directly dollar for dollar from a government program will fight tooth and nail to preserve that program. Those who pay the bill, do not do so directly, and consequently, do not have a directly vested interest in restraining the growth of a program.

The problem is exacerbated when we incur debt. Those who will pay are not born yet. The Congressional Budget Office projects tremendous out-year deficits from the President's plan, but these unborn who will foot the bill do not have a political action committee. (This is also probably why the plan does allow, despite the President's claims otherwise, for taxpayers dollars for abortion.)

Furthermore, major business and industry long ago traded free market principles for a seat at the policy negotiation table. Business rarely fights on principle but rather for short term return on investment. Wall Street rules. CEO's, therefore, would trade the free market for a targeted tax break or bailout for their business.

Such special government action requires relationship with policymakers, something not fostered by generally opposing government interference. This is why drug companies now support the President, they negotiated -the President agreed not to challenge their pricing and the drug companies gave a small savings in return so the President would have a talking point. An act candidate Obama criticized when President Bush cut the same kind of deal.

In short, programs that are managed and designed without "ideology," something the President criticized, incrementally grow. With all of the wheeling dealing and mid-term elections there is simply no room for uncomfortable vision — or ideology.

Yet, even the President cannot avoid those sticky truths that make ideology necessary — such as if you remove the responsibility for paying for a service from the consumer of the service costs will get out of control. Keeping consumers in the loop places a downward pressure on costs fostering free market innovation and creativity — just look at computers, electronics and communications services. Further, all of these decisions — I'll choose this widget over that one due to price or quality — are done in liberty, without government coercion or "encouragement."

And so the President must try to "control costs" in the existing and new government programs he is proposing. Here is where his ideology is in full view.

In the name of "competition" the President will "encourage" (force) Americans and American businesses to buy health insurance. In the name of "best practices" government expert panels will "encourage" (force) changes in health care practices for seniors. And in the name of "competition" government, which writes the rules (and unlike business can force people to give it money), will compete with private business.

If the President wants to "encourage" conduct he should run a public information campaign. Pass a new law of over 1,000 pages that creates more than 50 new federal agency panels dealing with everything from end of life decisions to medical best practices in a little more heavy-handed than "encouragement."

The President was eloquently and moving in his closing statements, however, the statements were also revealing. The President does not believe that the government is an actor in the health care discussion, but rather that government is the only moral actor on the scene. And this deeply held "moral" motivation in the heart of a man proposing changes in 15% of our nation's economy should be deeply concerning to all.

© Phill Kline


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Phill Kline

Phill Kline is the former Attorney General of Kansas who is, to date, the only Attorney General / prosecutor ever to obtain abortion records and formally charge both George Tiller and Planned Parenthood... (more)

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