Sunday, March 21, 2010

States' Rights, The Federal Government, and Left-Wing Socialism

Today is the day the House is supposed to vote on the Health Care bill.  As I was watching C-Span, a Republican Congressman was decrying the federal government's takeover of health care.  He said that people should first go to their local governments for help.  Then they should go to their state governments for help.  The federal government had no business trying to socialize health care.

Socialism has always been the second major slur to be thrown against socially necessary legislation.  (The first was communism, of course.) One problem with the Congressman's position is that he put no time limit on how long we are supposed to wait for our local governments to solve problems before seeking help at the federal level.

Everyone agrees that there are real, major problems with our health care system.  For example, almost everyone agrees that health insurers should not be allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.  But, who regulates health insurance companies?  The States.  And who permits them to discriminate?  The States.  Why does discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions need to be fixed?  Because the States have failed to protect their citizens.  

This leaves us in a terrible predicament, if we were to use the Congressman's logic.  1)   It's wrong to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.  2)  The states have failed to prevent this discrimination. BUT, 3)  the federal government should not do anything about this, because that would be socialism.  Does anybody see a problem, here?

Of course, health care is not the first issue to run up against this circular reasoning.  Voting Rights have.  Retirement issues have.  Age Discrimination has.  Sex Discrimination has.  Labor unions have.  Handicap Discrimination has.  Is there a pattern?  Of course there is.  

People get tired of waiting for local government to fix their problems.  People get tired of waiting for state government to fix their problems.  The only way these problems can get fixed, then, is to have the federal government fix them.  And it takes generations for the federal government to get around to it.

The health care bills are not perfect.  There is no such thing, and the legislative process guarantees that anything that can get passed the House and the Senate and signed by the President is going to be a three or four humped camel, at best.  But socialism and "it's not perfect" are the worst reasons for the federal government not to act.

Pass the bills.  Let the opponents fix them when they get the power to do so.  They always do get the power.  They rarely fix them, though.  They just want to defeat the other party, not act in the best interest of the public.

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