It seems that our legislators, despite the thousands who showed up at their town halls to protest such measures, despite the tens of thousands attending other TEA Parties across the nation all year and despite the millions attending various 9/12 rallies, still do not understand the message the American people are sending. The American people want government to resume it’s proper, Constitutional role. For a good example, let’s look at the current healthcare debate.
Our legislators continue to insist that “something must be done” to control healthcare costs and that “something” must involve at least a partial government takeover of our healthcare system. Many of them profess alarm at the anger and opposition they are seeing, but refuse to believe that American citizens are rejecting the entire notion of government run healthcare. They often suggest that those who oppose their legislative attempts to take control of the healthcare system are lacking in compassion. Many of them have referred to large segments of the American population in derogatory terms. It is time for them to wake up.
This debate is not just about healthcare, it is about the foundational principles of this republic. The issue is whether or not we, as individuals, have the right to control our own lives and property and to make our own decisions about our healthcare. Doctors are professionals, providing a service that many times costs more than it should because of a system already filled with intrusive, overbearing, needless, bureaucratic, governmental interference. If our legislators are truly interested in lowering healthcare costs, perhaps they should consider deregulation and tort reform. Perhaps they should allow interstate competition for health insurance companies. In other words, they could consider getting the government out of the way and letting the free market work.
For anyone, least of all our elected officials, to suggest that those who oppose government run healthcare are lacking in compassion, when the question before us as a nation has little or nothing to do with compassion for one’s fellow man, is outrageous. Americans donate more of their time and money to charitable and service efforts than the people of any other nation. As was noted in the Seattle Times in a 2007 article: “Americans give twice as much as the next-most-charitable country, according to a November 2006 comparison by the Charities Aid Foundation. In philanthropic giving as a percentage of gross domestic product, the United States ranked first at 1.7 percent. Britain was next at 0.73 percent, while France, with a 0.14 percent rate, trailed such countries as South Africa, Singapore, Turkey and Germany”. Notice that the USA gave more than twice as much as the 2nd place nation.
Government run programs are not known for compassion. Witness Oregon’s response to Barbara Wagener, a woman suffering with lung cancer. The state health plan refused to pay for her cancer drugs, but offered to pay for palliative care, including drugs she could use to commit suicide.
The government is known for corruption and fiscal irresponsibility. The American people are known for compassion and charity.
Listen carefully legislators. Americans as a whole are a compassionate and giving people and we do not want government run healthcare. Americans want the freedom to make our own choices, even if that means we occasionally fail to make good choices. It is not the government’s job to control the choices we make with our freedom, it is the government’s job to make sure we have the freedom to make those choices. The current administration and Congress seem disturbingly unwilling to grant that point, and that is why millions are gathering to peacefully protest the actions of this administration and this Congress.
Belanne Pibal is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.