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Ideology, Not Health Care Reform Threatens Freedom!

Updated on December 12, 2009

Relatively recently—and not by choice mind you—I was forced to join the ranks of the not-so-elite club of the unemployed…and by extension the ranks of the uninsured. Since then, I have found myself in the position of actually having to defend my precarious socioeconomic position to those of a more conservative political bent. With a 190,000 jobs lost last month alone in an economic downturn unprecedented since the Great Depression, there are still individuals who believe that people are “lazy,” and simply “don’t want to work.” It’s funny how little facts get overlooked, such as there being anywhere between 6-10 people for every 1 job opening, the reality of the country’s devastated manufacturing base, the greed in the financial industry contributing to record evictions, and the fact that consumers’ penchant for curtailing spending habits in such tight economic times hinders hiring, completing a brutal cycle.

So in times like these, the need for affordable universal health care insurance coverage should be a no-brainer for the American people. However, the fact is that despite polls showing that more Americans favor reform with the goal of increasing access to health care coverage than not, there is still a vocal segment speaking and voting their opposition to such a noble, and long-overdue retooling of the current system, which leaves between 40-50 million Americans without substantive coverage of any kind.

The arguments against any proposal to reform the current health care coverage system—a system which is the chief cause of personal bankruptcy declarations in America in any given year—tend to be transparently ideological, inflammatory rhetorical, anecdotal, and/or diversionary. Take for example the protest gathering of so-called “Tea-Baggers,” and other anti-tax and anti-spending individuals and groups in Washington D.C. back in September. Ostensibly, the rationale for these protests was to display “public” objection to the “runaway spending” of the federal government, especially as it related to anticipated cost of reforming the health care system. In attendance at the gathering was a who’s who of conservative activists and political figures firing up the crowd in order to make their point. But given the runaway spending of the last presidential administration, mostly a result of a combination of ill-advised tax cuts and funding for the dual wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, its curious that such vocal disenchantment for spending was not made so obvious then…especially since the costly war in Iraq was unnecessary to begin with. And if government spending is such an issue with these individuals, does their demand that spending should be curtailed include ending the appropriations (better known as “pork barrel” spending) that their representatives bring back to their home districts in the form of pet projects (in theory, I support the idea that people have the right to determine where their tax dollars should be spent, but let’s not forget that people like me pay—or rather paid—taxes too, and we have the same right)? Such an open book of political showboating smacks of partisan politics. These ideologically-and politically-bound actions mean that people like myself should just be left to our own devices—or lack thereof—simply because a few individuals cannot stomach the reality that the current system we all live under simply does not work for everyone.

Then there is the rhetoric of how any proposal to reform the current health care system is antithetical to the principles of the Free Market economy. My response as one of the millions of Americans who would benefit from a government reform of the current health care system is so what? Despite similar concerns voiced by those who painted many aspects of FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Medicare proposals as “Creeping Socialism,” “Communism,” and similar other “-isms,” Free Market America is still here, still the largest economy on Earth, and ironically, still trying to survive the excesses of free market—not socialist—practices which threatened to end the international system of markets as we know it. Furthermore, this notion of health care reform as being a foothold for creeping socialism has morphed into an unrealistic impending “attack on civil liberties and personal rights.” Some opponents have gone so far as to assert that not only do health care reform proposals threaten our "freedoms," but "tears at the heart of the of the Constitution" itself (unlike the secret renditions, warrantless wiretaps and abuses, shrouded grand juries, and illegal searches that were the ideologically-driven policies of the last administration). As one of the million of Americans in need, I simply do not see the “threat” to my personal freedoms, except as it relates to my freedom to avoid being disqualified for coverage because of a pre-existing condition (oh woe is me). Talk of death panels, the government’s “intent” to force us into public-run plans, and other such nonsense speaks to the effectiveness of the health care reform opponents’ ability to con many middle-class Americans into voting against their own self-interests. This is especially surprising considering that many of these same middle-class individuals and families are often just as victimized by inaffordability, skyrocketing costs, the threat of financial ruin, and arbitrary decisions by insurance company policy-makers as any of us.

Leaders among health care reform opponents have used these unfounded fears to weaken the public support for health care reform, without offering anything in the way of substantive options for the failed current system. And the pitiful few alternatives they have offered are laughable, such as medical tax credits for employers and individuals, which do very little good in an economy where job losses outpace hiring. Such ineffective proposals provide an insight into the ideological basis for opposition…the unshaken belief that lessez faire principles will provide individuals like myself a system-based means of access to health care coverage. Needless to say, its somewhat disconcerting to know many of my fellow Americans can and do unflinchingly embrace political ideology over reality, even at the cost of common sense and rational thinking. And its actually scary to think that many are so self-righteous and ideologically-bound as to believe that we should live by their interpretation of what America should be.

Sadly, I find myself hoping that many other Americans—especially those among the opponents of health care reform—join me in the ranks of the recently unemployed. Only then, when more people are forced to realize that sometimes bad circumstances occur, that sometimes everyone needs help, and that the current system is not full-proof, will see that personal beliefs, ideologies, and dogmas are the real threat to our personal freedoms…and not a desire among our elected officials to help those in need.


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      The Sensible (and Proud) Liberal  8 years ago

      LOL! Beyond, you ARE da man! That King clown is way out of his league with you! LOLOL!

    • Beyond-Politics profile image

      Beyond-Politics 8 years ago from The Known Universe (

      Christians are also the most intolerant and judgmental of Americans. I once saw a local news station cover one of the protests that were being held at a Congressman's office. The reporter asked the protester had they even read the health care proposal, and the elderly woman replied "no." When asked why was she protesting then, she replied that she "relied on God to tell her that it was wrong." It was such an insane instance that I posted the video link on my personal blog for the entire world to see so that people can see the minds of those who oppose something as well-intentioned as affordable universal health care. The irrational fear of a centralized government is one step from what the radical militias & Right Wingers embrace. Christian-thinking leaves a lot to be desired...they reject the evidence of environmental damage/global warming caused by pollution (but believe in an all-powerful invisible being who lives in the sky who we cant see), they reject stem-cell research despite the lives which it could save, proclaim to be "pro-life," but embrace the death penalty (generalizations, granted, but you know as well as I do do that they are applicably true). You are not in a morally defensible position here sir. If political conservatives were to offer a viable solution to the multitudes of Americans without affordable health insurance, I would embrace it, but after numerical control of the government for the past decade, one has to assume that they dont have the will to give the American people what's needed. I find too many conservatives (not all, but enough) think its best to run the government based on ideology rather than reality. While your overall point that that government cannot solve every socioeconomic problem is true, neither can the Free Market; I don't see nor fear "too much government" as the Boogey Man that you do.

    • twayneking profile image

      twayneking 8 years ago from Puyallup, WA

      It always comes down to name-calling and talking points. You assume that the free market is what caused the astronomical rise of health care costs. It's not! The government has been diddling with health care for 50 years and in that time has burdened the system with ridiculous regulations, burdensome paperwork and a heavy bureaucracy that it can ill support. Bureaucracies are like big dirty snowballs. They roll along collecting more bureaucrats who create more useless paperwork for each other. In segments of our economy where the feds haven't tried to meddle, things get done quicker, more efficiently and usually better. If my physician could make decisions strictly based on what was wrong with me and not on what someone in Washington thought ought to be wrong with me, if she didn't have to fill out 20 forms in triplicate and answer to a team of risk management people and lawyers, I could have affordable health care.

      20 years ago my wife suddenly developed a volleyball-sized ovarian tumor. We'd just started a new business and invested everything we had in it. We had no idea what we would do. Her gynecologist told her not to worry. He did the operation for free, the hospital dipped into a local emergency fund to take care of the brief hospital stay. We were very grateful and did our best to give back to our community, providing free emergency day care at our center to people in need.

      Under this health care plan, my wife's doctor will not be able to do such things for free. The law prohibits doctors from charging anyone less than what they charge the government. This well-meant law kills any sort of pro-bono work because if a doctor does treat a patient for free, he has to treat all the government insured patients for free and there goes his practice. If the doc goes ahead and does it and doesn't tell, and gets caught, he goes to jail.

      This is what happens when you have government designed health care. It's like upholstering a chair with a sledge hammer when a staple gun is called for. You cannot sit in Washington and design a system that works effectively at the local level in all situations.

      When I was a kid, I grew up without health care insurance. Our local docs charged people what they could best afford. Docs didn't get wildly rich until the government came along and started fiddling with the system to make it 'fair'.

      I've seen how the system works with and without government interference and let me tell you folks, you can trust the doctors to be a lot more fair and compassionate than you can trust government bureaucrats. The most heart-breaking stories of medical neglect and misery that I have heard have come at the hands of government run medical programs and government/corporate medical protection rackets such as are common today.

      You cannot solve the problem by giving the very thugs and bullies who are responsible for it more power. I have been doing social advocacy work for seniors and people with disabilities and emotionally disturbed and disabled kids for 25 years. Ordinary people left to their own devices, in my experience are almost unfailingly generous and will do the right thing in their own communities.

      Those who will not, those who are bullies and exploiters are a problem, but they aren't in charge, unless we elect them to office or put them in charge. That's what socialized health care does. It puts the foxes in charge of the hen house. When you have the kind of money concentrated in one place that a universal health care program represents, you WILL draw the greedy bloodsuckers you are complaining about like so many sharks to nibble off the edges till there is nothing left.

      The only way to prevent that is to take away their power and put the health care system in the hands of those who have sworn an oath to care for the sick and turn the government to the task of beating off the sharks.

      But the left won't consider that because they haven't the imagination to see how a decentralized system can work, even though such systems are more flexible, resilient and efficient than any centralized system known to man.

      And, by the way, "Oh, yeah, well you're stupid!" isn't much of an argument, especially when I doubt a one of you started out in poverty like I did and worked for practically nothing all your working life to help people as I did (they don't call 'em nonprofits for nothing).

      I own no home, have no savings, no medical insurance and work for myself when I can get the work. I'm the guy you guys keep trying to save and I'm here to tell you I don't want you to save me, especially if it means creating a gigantic bureaucracy to control every facet of our lives, stifle individual creativity, punish excellence and turn our nation into frickin' Detroit - the American poster child city for central planning and government funded development.

      You look at history, at the dismal record of centralized government planning and you see what ought to be according to your ideology, and not what actually is. We are selling our children's futures for something that feels good and makes us feel less guilty because we're so well off.

      And before you start telling me as a Christian that I don't really practice my faith (remember the old Golden Rule - I really do practice that and so do a majority of Christians), let's see you do what I've done, help the people I've helped, spent the unpaid hours I've spent doing real things to help real people and giving back what I give back from my meager income (at least 4 times the percentage Barak Obama gives from his huge income).

      It must be lovely to simply say I support global climate change laws and universal health care and save the whales and I don't use animal tested cosmetics and be able to sleep at night as though you've actually done something for your fellow man.

      Let me see you out on the front lines and we'll talk about it. Let me see you collecting money and organizing your fellow church members to build a ramp for a disabled person in a wheel chair instead of saying, "Isn't there a government program for that?" and then going on your way as though that helped. Then I might be impressed. Maybe you do those kinds of things, but if you'll look at the stats, it's us "Christians" you talk so bad about that donate more money to third world development than the entire US government's foreign aid programs put together. Not only that, but when we send medical aid or build a well in a village, we drag our butts onto a boat and go over there with it to make sure it gets done.

      I am well and truly sick of people who haven't a clue making sweeping statements about Christians who haven't bothered to find out whether they were true or not. I'm sorry if as a child you were frightened by a cranky Sunday School teacher. That happens! We're not all like it and it is every bit as wrong to stereotype the Christian community based on some anti-Christian propaganda you heard at a Students for Democratic Society Meeting when you were in college.

      There, I've done it - I've gone off on a rant. I'm sorry, we were talking about health care. Good stuff if you can get it in its pure and unadulterated form!

      Tom King - Flint, TX

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      The Sensible (and Proud) Liberal 8 years ago

      Twayneking...So you're one of the lucky few who lives in and around a clinic that allows you to pay for your own health care at a reasonable cost...big deal! Everyone isn't so lucky! Everyone simply can't afford to pay for their own health insurance! You conservatives live with blinders think just because YOU can do it that your circumstances apply to everyone else. Well Mr. Conservative, you don't sound as smart as you like to think you'd rather there not be affordable health coverage for yourself and every American just because YOU (and people like you) think that government-run departments aren't "efficient?" Beyond Politics, you keep right on preaching, and ignore clowns like him!!!

    • Beyond-Politics profile image

      Beyond-Politics 8 years ago from The Known Universe (

      Your membership in MENSA notwithstanding, blind adherence to personal beliefs, emotions, and ideology are poor substitutes for intelligence. The problem I have is that most liberals put too much faith in government while conservatives like yourself don't give it enough credit for being able to provide solutions...there HAS to be a (balance) of our perception of government competence, the implimentation of rules which remove Big Money as the chief element in the legislative process, and the suppression of the voice of people who would rather govern my political ideology rather than out of pragmatism. We need solutions that work, not ones that support your (or my) particular ideological dogmas, and clearly, if the Free Market were up to the task of providing affordable health care coverage for all Americans, it would have by now. Lastly, we need to remove the religious element out of politics, since it's not Christianity that's the problem, but Christians. Most love to invoke the name of God insofar as their beliefs, but I have found that the average American so-called "Christian" are simply people who put their blind faith in ideas and notions that they cannot possibly understand anyway.

    • twayneking profile image

      twayneking 8 years ago from Puyallup, WA

      I've never understood what in all of history gives you comfort about having government take over virtually our entire economy. When has powerful central government worked out well for ordinary people? The corporate greed you complain of was, in fact, aided and abetted by government. In a competitive market system, those companies would have folded and been replaced by competent ones. Instead, guess who propped those greedy bastards up?

      The lust for power is the original sin. Satan wanted to be God. It's still going on and it's a miserable failure every time someone tries it, because no one can control that complex a system unless they are God.

      Last I checked, God hasn't been elected to public office in America. Your faith in this government is impossibly naive. I'm struggling to find work myself, but I still don't want the government controlling 3/4 of the economy. They suck at managing money. Talk about greed, wait till you get a load of all those new money-sucking federal bureaucracies. No matter that this president and congress have already spent more money than every single president from George Washington through George W. Bush put together. I won't live long enough to pay my share of that debt. And the more money they print, the less it's going to be worth. We're sitting on a money bubble right now and when it bursts we're going to be in deep deep trouble.

      And don't tell me I don't know what you're going through. I haven't had health insurance since 2006 AND I was self-employed, so I don't get unemployment. I'm 55 and pay for my own health insurance as I use it from a clinic that takes no insurance or government payments at all. My doctor visit is $45 and lab tests for my blood pressure $125 (less than a fifth of what it costs me at a regular clinic). They get no government subsidies.

      Neither do I.

      I know what you're going to say - what if I get really sick? The taxpayers will have to pay for my health care. So let me get this straight. You want to replace that system with a system where the, uh, taxpayers pay for my health care - and everyone else's and takes a fat admin fee off the top (Federal admin costs run 40-60% against 7-10% for the average nonprofit organization).

      I just don't see it dude and I'm a member of MENSA so I ain't stupid okay?


    • Beyond-Politics profile image

      Beyond-Politics 8 years ago from The Known Universe (

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      oldenuf2nobetter 8 years ago

      Bravo!There is nothing I can add to your excellant article.Good luck and God bless you!

    • Warren Curtis profile image

      Warren Curtis Daniels Jr 8 years ago from Buffalo, New York

      Great Hub. need I say more? I think not.

    • Beyond-Politics profile image

      Beyond-Politics 8 years ago from The Known Universe (

      You're right...there are a number of Democrats who will probably derail the proposal of health care reform. But I can respect someone who opposes health care reform based on ideological reasons--even if they're misguided. The Democrats who would do so do it based on nothing more than self-preservation because they're scare they may lose their jobs....I have NO respect for these individuals. If they truly were working in the general interest as "public servants," they would be willing to take the result for standing up for doing the right thing. But they're obviously not willing to sacrifice for those who support them, so I have nothing but contempt for those low-lifes!

    • profile image

      Mystery Liberal 8 years ago

      "Undeserving" is a relative term.

    • Friendlyword profile image

      Friendlyword 8 years ago from

      Sorry dude:

      You are just the wrong color to make any argument concerning anything that the government can do to make this country a better place for the regular people of this country. You are one of those people who want to "take ma money and giv it to those underserving people". The current leaders of this charge against health care reform are republican congressmen that never vetoed one spending bill during the George Bush Administration. All the republicans and some of the democratic Senators are going to kill the health care bill in the senate. They are owned by Insurance companies. There's no way around it. We will not have a health care bill worth a damn until the mid-term elections. I wish you the best my Brother. Good luck to you, and rest of us.

      I was on this for awhile: