Monday, November 9, 2009

An open letter to the members of Congress

Recently on CSPAN, I watched you tell the world that the projected cost of the Affordable Health Care for America Act will be, after ten years, better than free. You said it will actually save us $100 billion and give everyone in the nation affordable health care. I’m not concerned with what kind of analysis was used to arrive at these conclusions. If you can cite a statistic from a government office and call it proof, I can just as easily point out the discrepancy between the projected cost and the staggering actual cost of Medicare and Social Security (which, even by optimistic forecasts, will drag us all into economic ruin) as being proof that the federal government’s further involvement in the medical industry is, to put it lightly, a terrible mistake.

I have some predictions. In ten years, the H.R. 3962 for which some people cheered in 2009 will be but a memory, having since mutated into even more of a hulking legislative mass. It will do this because it will need to be amended to fix things that weren’t taken into account when the bill was written. It will need to be amended because it will have to clamp down on problems that it created, the likes of which no one could predict. Even if one now assumes the Affordable Health Care for America Act is the holy grail of legislative perfection, it will certainly not be ten years before powerful lawmakers of a different stripe have it at their disposal. By 2030, this bill will be unrecognizable. Ultimately, there will be a call for more government. And members of Congress, whose failed policies of the past hundred years have caused the problems in the first place, will once again fall over themselves rushing to the rescue.

The advertised solutions will be to either put up with things being as bad as they are (“doing nothing”), or to fix the situation by passing more “sweeping reform” from sea to shining sea. Those will be the only options. Again, the idea of getting the government out of the medical industry altogether won’t even be up for discussion. Why? For the same reasons it’s not up for discussion now–because decades of slowly getting everybody used to depending on the government have fundamentally altered the way Americans think and behave. Who knows how many people will be on the federal dole in ten or twenty years? Even now, people have grown used to the idea that it’s not only proper for Washington to take care of us, but necessary. They beg politicians to save them with their power to use force on other people. Disregard the fact that the federal government has produced nothing but bloated wasteful bureaucracies whose hidden (as well as up-front) costs borne by all Americans have been incalculable. We’ve learned to accept that this is how it always just…was. There is no other choice. Right?

In twenty years, the people might not remember the names of the representatives who voted for the original juggernaut medical mandate (President Obama will likely bear that blame), but they will certainly feel the effects of its handiwork. No one can say for certain what these effects will be, which is precisely the point. It is for this very reason that no such attempt should be made to draft legislation the likes of the Affordable Health Care for America Act (it even sounds un-American). It will fly out of your control just as the federal government has flown out of the control of the states that created it.

Let me put it this way: to fulfill its purpose in making our lives change for the better, the 1990 pages of H.R. 3962 will have to be almost perfect as they stand. The bill must somehow be crafted so as to be almost immune to future attempts to modify, misinterpret, or otherwise override it. It will need to be unique, the first of its kind, and adhered to without compromise. In short, this bill will have to mean to healthcare what the United States Constitution meant to American government in the late eighteenth century–and even then, there are no guarantees it will remain what it is.

After all, look at what has happened to our Constitution. The document, so ironclad and specific in purpose, still manages to be disregarded and twisted into justifying whatever any politician wishes, including the very government actions it was clearly designed to guard against. That the Constitution is a document which the members of Congress have taken an oath to uphold (often many times) makes the reality all the more alarming. Once the decision is made to step over the boundaries of law, those boundaries no longer exist.

I believe you are intelligent and well-meaning men and women, but I reject your terrible ideas even if they’re proposed with the best of intentions. Americans will take no consolation in the fact that their representatives merely meant well when they passed the bill that brought the medical industry further into ruin. Surely we’ve both been witnessing the same version of American history. Surely you’ve seen what happens when powerful legislation falls “into the wrong hands.” And surely you know that you won’t be in Congress forever, nor will the rest of your colleagues who crafted this bill. So my question is this: if it becomes law, when the Affordable Health Care for America Act does fail to achieve its stated objective, when it does fail to control costs, and when it does turn into just another plaything for future politicians to use to get re-elected, how will you, knowing that it was brought into existence with the help of your vote, make it up to the American people?

Sincerely In Liberty,
William Kern

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