Affordable Care Act, Individual Liberty, and Socialized Medicine

So, my 2-cents on the ACA (Obamacare), the Federal Gov’t, and individual liberty.  A couple disclaimers: 1. Occupationally, I work for a company that provides health insurance – a VEBA; 2. Politically, I tend to be drawn to Libertarianism (which is not Neo-Conservatism or plain old Conservatism); 3. Socially, I’m a person who has set my life within the Way of Christ, no matter how imperfectly I succeed.

Now onward… Since the early debates of whether our form of government should be central or local – Federal-centric or State-centric – the battle has raged.  More State-centric seems to have won out in our Constitutional form.  So, I think the Federal government should not take up stuff not specifically provided for it in the Constitution – like medicine.  No socialized medicine!  Therefore, like the ACA (which really is of a different kind, but anyway…) Congress should immediately end the Federal government’s socialized medicine programs – Medicare and Medicaid – which are government controlled and dictated systems.

Secondly, people have the right to not have insurance if they don’t want it! Since we know that lots of uninsured people show up at Emergency Rooms seeking care for everything from what would otherwise be a primary-care check-up to a hang-nail, these uninsured visits drive up the cost of healthcare and drive hospitals into financial insolvency since these people can’t pay their bills, then this needs to stop!  Why should regular-people’s insurance premiums, co-pays, and co-insurance charges continually rise because we have to make up for other people’s decisions? It is our individual American right to not have health insurance, but if you don’t have insurance or don’t have the cash – no care!  Why should I have to subsidize other people’s Constitutionally granted decisions or their inefficiency, irresponsibility, or bad luck?

So, if you don’t plan well during your life and you’re old and have no healthcare coverage, tough luck.  If you are young and invincible and get into a drunken care crash without insurance, tough luck.  If your baby is in trouble and you chose to exercise your Constitutional right to not have health insurance, tough luck. Individual liberty, individual responsibility! After all, that’s the American Way of allowing us all to make our own, private, individualized decisions, right?  Now, if a privately funded charity wants to pay for those people’s healthycare bills, great, they can be enablers if they want to, just don’t make me pay for it.  (The “American Way” is looking more and more like “Social Darwinism.”)

But, the American Way is not the Christ-like Way.  And, for all those people who claim to be Christians – whether conservative or liberal, Evangelical, Mainline, or Catholic (Roman, Orthodox, Anglican, or some Lutherans) – hyper-individualism is counter to God’s call to us to be about caring for the lest-of-these, to considering others needs before our own, and to love not just our neighbors but our enemies as well.

That doesn’t mean we have to give everything over to the Federal or State governments to control or administer (I am enamored with Libertarianism, after all), but it does mean we cannot dump our responsibility to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the alien!  We can democratically decide whether to take up that responsibility through our government, private associations, or individually.  We can collectively decide the means within our representative democracy, but we can never decide to ignore those least able to make it.