Health Care for Idiots: The obvious argument that Obama's public health insurance plan is just wrong

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (7/2/09) Link, New Haven Advocate (7/2/09) Link

Last week, President Barack Obama tried to sell us on his plan for fixing health care. The problem, as he sees it, is that the cost of health care is high and getting higher. Only by some sort of government action can we stop the costs from spiraling out of control. He explained that his plan does not mean the government will run all health care, but merely that people will have one more choice, a public option, in addition to the private choices they will continue to have.

Obama frames the choice as trying to find the blessed middle ground between "socialized medicine" and "a completely free market system" (his words). He proposes we develop something "uniquely American."

We know what "uniquely American" is. It's the collusion of corporations and government. The best examples? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, probably the most heavily regulated entities that ever existed, and ostensibly private corporations. Want more? Chrysler, GM, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Walmart. Yes, Walmart, long the whipping boy of progressives looking to impose unions on it, has also been known to dangle promises of job creation and tax streams to entice local governments to use eminent domain to evict private citizens from their homes and businesses.

There are very few truly independent corporations, and there are very few truly independent politicians. It's not just that they're in bed together; it's that they're all having an orgy in the next room. And we weren't invited.

This "uniquely American" approach is quite similar to fascism, a political system where corporations and the government are virtually indistinguishable. Many fascist leaders proclaim theirs is a "third way," not quite socialism, not quite capitalism. A sensible middle ground.

There is a common saying in the financial world as regards portfolio construction and picking good and bad investments. If you pour a glass of wine into a bucket of urine, you still have just a bucket of urine. But if you pee just a little into a bucket of wine, you're the proud owner of a bucket of urine.

When I look over the various opinions out there on Obama's plan, pro and con, I feel like an idiot. At first, I thought everybody else was an idiot: nobody, on either side, ever talks about the morality of government involvement in health care. Don't they realize that it is wrong?

If private insurance messes up, I can sue them. But how do I sue the government if I am on the public plan? Worse still, if taxpayers like you are paying for my health insurance, shouldn't you have a say in what I eat, drink and smoke? If I am unhealthy, I'm just a big liability waiting to be bailed out in the future. Shouldn't you regulate me now, for my own good? And worst of all, how can you justify forcing other people to pay for my health care? It's just theft. It's just wrong.

But I realized soon enough that it is not everybody else who is an idiot. The origin of the word "idiot" as we know it today is from the Old French idiote, meaning an uneducated or ignorant person. But before that, it took a detour via Latin from the original Greek idiotes, meaning a private citizen, an individual, from the root idios, meaning one's own. A Greek "idiot" was someone who didn't participate in government or public life.

By that definition, Obama is no idiot. Neither are those who argue for or against his health care plan on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis.

But I am.

I don't want to participate in government or public life. I don't want to constantly be voting against tyranny, calling my congressman and senator, and pleading for them to let me be free a little longer. I don't want to spend my time following the government's latest infractions on my freedom and infarctions on our economy. Whether it's global warming or health care or Iraq or bailouts or inflation, I don't want to talk about it or think about it. I just want to be left alone.

Obama is right about one thing: we do need to change the health care system in this country. We've tried the approach of regulation and government interference, but Obama's plan is just more of the same.

How could you forget to

How could you forget to mention the "private" Fed?  I would think that would be the best and most obvious example beside freddy and Fanny.


You are right. Thanks.

6 Comments from the Fairfield County Weekly

You have to be an idiot in the usual sense of the word to compete with the government: not only it has infinite resources and you don't, it can change the rules of competition at any time and you can't do anything about it.
Posted by Naked on 7.1.09 at 5.11
"This "uniquely American" approach is quite similar to fascism, a political system where corporations and the government are virtually indistinguishable."

Here's an illustration of the uniquely American approach in today's news:

"Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's staff contacted federal regulators last fall to ask about the bailout application of an ailing Hawaii bank that he had helped to establish and where he has invested the bulk of his personal wealth.

The bank, Central Pacific Financial, was an unlikely candidate for a program designed by the Treasury Department to bolster healthy banks. The firm's losses were depleting its capital reserves. Its primary regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., already had decided that it didn't meet the criteria for receiving a favorable recommendation and had forwarded the application to a council that reviewed marginal cases, according to agency documents.

Two weeks after the inquiry from Inouye's office, Central Pacific announced that the Treasury would inject $135 million. "

Great article, Phil!

Posted by Citizen on 7.1.09 at 5.16
"I don't want to spend my time following the government's latest INFRACTIONS on my freedom and INFARCTIONS on our economy."

I enjoy your writing, Phil!

Posted by Reader on 7.1.09 at 5.22
"I don't want to participate in government or public life."

i hope that was tongue in cheek, seeing as you ran for office.

Posted by You ran for office! on 7.3.09 at 8.07
Miracle of miracles: when does the Advocate ever allow anybody to voice anything except the most far-left viewpoints?

Do they throw eggs at you when you walk through the newsroom? Nice article.

Posted by Eric on 7.3.09 at 19.32
Hi "You ran for office!!", no, it's not tongue in check, I don't expect to ever run for office again, barring exceptional circumstances, and I didn't really want to run in 2006 either. If there was a pro-freedom candidate available, I wouldn't have run back then at all.

Hi Eric, thanks!

And thanks to Citizen and Reader too.

Posted by Phil Maymin on 7.5.09 at 20.56