Thursday, February 25, 2010

Privacy and healthcare

The "right to privacy" - it is the most often cited unenumerated right, used to prevent the use of private information against individuals. And health information is considered among the most private of all personal information. Yet insurance companies are allowed and encouraged to use our health information to determine premiums for our health coverage.

If the government prohibited insurance companies from accessing or using medical information in determining coverage and premiums, would that cause an extreme rise in the premium rates of healthy people?

Rates may rise somewhat in the beginning, but there will always be the "rogue" company out there that will undercut the others in order to gain more customers. Any premium increase would in a short time certainly level off and most likely recede slightly after a period of adjustment.

Furthermore, the elimination of discrimination based on medical history would result in a decreased concentration of "high risk" individuals, increasing the number of insurance companies negotiating rates of procedures, and quite likely decreasing overall rates charged by providers.

Our present medical insurance system applies upward pressure on prices, both of premiums - through discrimination against individuals with negative medical history records - and provider fees - due to the poor negotiating position of few insurers specializing in high-risk insurance plans.

We could go a long way in alleviating upward price pressures by making our private medical records...private.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Progressivism or the Constitution

Hillary Clinton calls herself a "modern progressive." It's interesting that no one (except for Glenn Beck) has a problem with this statement. Progressives believe that society must "progress" toward an ideal form of government.

Here is the problem with such a philosophy: Progress requires constitutional and government flexibility. If we find that our government is not addressing some issue of national importance, we should have the ability to quickly change the government.

Woodrow Wilson believed that the British constitution was more advanced than the United States constitution because it allowed for "progress" without the slow process of amendment.

The constitution of the founders assumed and required a limited general government. Progressivism is not compatible with our constitution because it assumes government must "progress" to be more proactive, wielding more and more power as time goes by.

As a result, Hillary Clinton is not just a modern Progressive. She is an un-Constitutionalist. How have we regressed to such a state that someone who would subvert our constitutional system is seen as "progressive"?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An aside: What was the real cause for the electoral upset in MA?

Republican Scott Brown accomplished the impossible on Tuesday: He won a Senate seat in liberal Massachusetts. Democrats say the result is a backlash against incumbents in general. Republicans indicate it's a backlash against Obama and his liberal policies.

So who is correct? I maintain that both parties have it wrong. The election indicates a backlash against Democrats in the Senate who conducted secret meetings, restricted Republican amendments, and reduced debate on health care legislation. The public is frustrated by the lack of transparency in the institution created of, by, and for the people.

Friday, January 8, 2010

James Madison on the "general welfare" clause

Today's Congress exercises nearly unlimited legislative power. Most legislators quote the "general welfare" clause as the source of that power. When asked where in the Constitution Congress was granted the power to mandate the purchase of individual health insurance, Nancy Pelosi found the question to be so ludicrous that she refused even to answer.

Is this what the founders intended? Consider the following and decide for yourself:

It has been urged and echoed that the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.

Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases....

But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity....

- The Federalist No. 41

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Property vs. Health Insurance

Today, our general government controls our lives to an extent that would have frightened our founding generation. And soon that stranglehold will tighten with the passage of health care reform.

Make no mistake. "Universal health care" is not even a peripheral purpose of health care reform. Even the most optimistic appraisal of the proposal assumes that approximately 10% of the population will remain uninsured.

Instead, this plan will be used to control the behavior of "the people." What other purpose can there be for requiring people to buy insurance?

Unlike health insurance, auto insurance was created to protect the public at large, rather than individuals. Furthermore, STATES created auto insurance mandates. The general government did not.

In 1787 accumulation of property was considered a fundamental right. Requiring the people to give up property for insurance is a violation of that principle.

This health care mandate is a violation of rights of the people and is unconstitutional. Congress has no power to force the people to give up property. The health care bill should be abandoned.

If it is passed, the people should "petition the government for a redress of grievances." Should the general government refuse to respond, the people must revolt, and juries must not convict a person who defies a government mandate to give up his property.