March 24 2011
When I think about "why ObamaCare is wrong for America," I think, wow, to fully cover that topic, I'd have to write a book. Well, thankfully, that book has already been written.
This morning at the National Press Club, the four authors of "Why ObamaCare is Wrong for America" - Grace-Marie Turner, James C. Capretta, Thomas P. Miller, and Robert E. Moffit - hosted a book forum.
To boil it way, way down, there are really two routes to take when explaining why ObamaCare is not a good fit for our country. One route focuses on the practical side: We can't afford ObamaCare, and the practical effects on the quality of health care will be harmful. The other route focuses on the philosophical side: America is not a centrally planned country, and we value individual freedom over government control.
As Robert Moffit (of the Heritage Foundation) pointed out, "We're a federal republic. Power is wisely divided [between the federal and state governments]... Part of our agenda here is to explain in plain language this very complex piece of legislation. We're living in a historic time here. This is one of the great debates in American history."
But after listening to the entire forum, one thought keeps resounding in my mind: The practical and the philosophical are intertwined. I agree with Moffit that this is one of the great debates in American history, but it has a lot in common with other debates we've had. Who should allocate resources (in this case, in our health care system)? As James Capretta pointed out, ObamaCare starts with the presumption that the government will do it. This presumption is not only anti-American in theory, but also disastrous in practice.
There's a practical reason why our founding fathers assigned so little power to the federal government. While a constitutionally limited government is a part of the American philosophy, it is not some idea that we follow blindly. If a change that centralized our government and restructured our federalist system were a change that introduced more freedom, more efficiency, and more opportunities to pursue happiness, then Americans would embrace it. But we know that a more powerful government means less power for individuals. As Thomas Jefferson said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."
The ObamaCare debate is not two sides saying, "Take my word for it." As the authors of this book know, there are both practical and philosophical arguments about this law's negative effects, and I look forward to reading it.