By Fr. George Welzbacher
October 18, 2009
Mr. Van Jones, self-avowed Marxist and Black Power activist, who was chosen by President Obama to be our Czar for a Green Economy-he was forced from that position in the wake of widespread indignation at his allegations that our government was complicitous in the planning and execution of the horrendous mass murders of 9/11-declared before his dismissal that his mission and that of like-minded Czars was to be nothing less than to accelerate the transformation of the American government. "We want a whole new system. We not gonna just put a new battery into the old broken machine."
A similar thirst for revolutionary reform is evident in the various proposals now before the U. S. Senate and the House of Representatives for a top-to-bottom transformation of the way we provide healthcare. The justification put forward for this radical reform rests putatively on the fact that millions in our country are currently uninsured, including millions of illegal immigrants and millions more of American citizens who could afford to pay for private insurance but decline to do so, plus a minority of citizens who cannot afford to pay for such insurance. For those Americans who simply cannot afford to enroll in private insurance plans and who are not covered by policies offered by their employers effective remedies can be found, remedies stopping short of the total demolition and reconstruction of our present system. Among such remedies would he tax exemptions for private health savings accounts and the removal of legal barriers to a more brisk competition across state lines among insurance companies; extremely helpful, too, would be serious tort reform, which would relieve medical practitioners, especially specialists such as obstetricians, from the need to purchase hugely expensive insurance policies as protection against irresponsible lawsuits; such reform would be helpful indeed, since the costs of this insurance are usually passed along to the consumer. The Congressional Office of the Budget estimates that serious tort reform could result in a yearly saving of some $54 billion dollars.
These are obvious first steps that could easily be taken and that in the judgment of serious analysts should prove to be effective in bringing about significant reductions in the wasteful spending that our present system generates. And the money thus saved could go a long way, among other purposes, towards defraying the expense of offering aid, in a spirit of Christian and humanitarian compassion, to illegal immigrants when their families fall victim to medical emergencies.
The more that some of these proposals are examined in detail, the more they give cause for alarm. Most ominous from the point of view of the natural moral law is the fact that several amendments proposed in committee to prohibit the use of federal funds for "abortion services," as well as to defend the right of medical personnel and medical institutions to abstain from immoral procedures, have been repeatedly voted down along party lines. And ambiguous language in the draft legislation would open the door for broad interpretation by bureaucrats favoring the allocation of federal funds for the killing of the unborn.
Still other elements in the proposed legislation do not bode well for the maintenance of America's present high level of medical care, with its distinctive technological innovation and frequent breakthroughs from pharmacological research. All this research, all this experimentation requires the expenditure of large sums of money, with the inevitable risk that a particular project despite prolonged dedication may end in failure. Proposed heavy new taxation on the pharmaceutical and med-tech industries would seriously reduce, if not destroy, the economic incentive for future investment in this risky but critically important program of development and research. There is a reason, after all, why nations from all over the globe are represented in the registers of patients being cared for at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and at the University of Minnesota's world-famous Heart Clinic, right here in Minneapolis, just as there is a reason for the continuing flight to America's clinics and hospitals of ailing Canadians who would otherwise be doomed to interminable and sometimes lethal delays under the monopolistic governmental control that characterizes their nation's health care.
Furthermore, under the proposed legislation an enormous economic tsunami of unfunded mandates in the sum of 37 billion dollars would overwhelm state governments, most of which are already faced with crippling deficits even before the imposition of new obligations, though a few lucky states such as Nevada, thanks to the hefty intercession of certain Senators, would. have much of their obligation to pay for these mandates assumed by the federal government. And to all of this burden upon the states will be added the federal government's need to borrow from foreign governments on an unprecedented scale; already we are paying 383 billion dollars a year JUST FOR THE INTEREST on our current indebtedness of more than nine trillion dollars. The new health care reform as presently outlined will create an additional indebtedness of nearly twelve trillion dollars over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Office of the Budget. This way bankruptcy ties.
All in all, it would seem that now is the time, if you are concerned about the implications of this revolution in health care, to let your congressional representatives become aware of your views. Here are some telephone numbers to call.
For any U. S. Senator/Representative the main telephone number is: l- 202-224-3121-you ean always get through and they can find any Representative or Senator by zip code or state name.
Local Phone Numbers Are:
U. S. Senator - Al Franken 651-221-1016
U. S. Senator-Amy Klobuchar 612-727-5220
U. S. Representative for the fourth district : Betty McCollum 651-224-9191
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