Republicans and conservatives have written numerous sensible columns decrying the loss of freedom and the advent of socialism in the Obama healthcare reform plan. David Hogberg, writing in March of 2010 at Investors.com on 20 Ways ObamaCare Will Take Away Our Freedoms, delineates some of the freedoms which Americans will lose: the freedom of employers to offer the kinds of plans they prefer for their employees, the freedom of physicians to practice without being held accountable by the government to standards of medical care, the freedom of physicians to own hospitals, the freedom of health insurers to raise premiums, and the freedom of pharmaceutical companies from having to contribute to national health care.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, in WOLF: Hey loser, get a job or else, adds that the Obama plan enforces its mandates on individuals, believing they can’t be trusted to determine their own health insurance needs, including the freedom to go without. Conservatives like Dr. Wolf will also disagree with the EMTALA (Forget Obamacare, here’s some healthcare legislation that is REAL socialism), passed by Congress and signed by the President in 1986, which limits the freedom of hospitals from discharging a patient unable to pay to make room for a patient who is able to pay, from discharging a patient who is an illegal immigrant prior to completion of care, and requiring them to feed patients unable to pay, and meet all physician-ordered dietary restrictions.
Some have objected, claiming that providing health care is like providing free public education, because it is in the interests of the republic. But others in the conversation have deftly put this notion aside by pointing to the terrible job government is doing educating our children, showing how incapable government is at managing such endeavors, and how incapable it would certainly be of providing efficient health care for its citizens.
Which brings us to Medicare and Paul Ryan’s sensible proposals. Leaving aside such sentiments as were expressed in early rallies against the health care reform plan (“Tell government to keep its hands of my Medicare!”), we know that compared to the efficiency of the private health insurance industry, the government is by its very nature incapable of managing something so large as Medicare to the advantage of its beneficiaries.
Paul Ryan seeks to capitalize on Americans’ understanding of freedom and repulsion at socialism by dramatically reducing the size and scope of Medicare. The program would transition from the current single-payer plan to a premium support plan over the next few decades, and reduce the amount government would contribute to seniors’ medical care by about a third (Peter Suderman at Reason, Medicare Under Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan). Transitioning Medicare from current, inefficient government run to efficient private insurance company run, would help protect our freedom, keep us from socialism, and return the country to adherence to the Constitution, free enterprise, entrepreneurialism, and the free market.