A recap for liberals: a desire and a right are two very different things.
A "right," as we all know, has one key characteristic: It can't be taken away. Ever. That's exactly what the new Democrat-sponsored bill would ensure. As the Associated Press put it, the legislation would "for the first time make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans."
That second word — "responsibility" — is also key. The government will force you to take part in its plan, whether you want to or not. As it turns out, "responsibility" is code for "tax hikes" and "compulsory participation."
The House plan calls for a 5.4% surcharge on those earning $1 million or more. But the tax will also reach down to families with incomes of $280,000. "Small businesses" will be excluded, we hear, but only those with payrolls under $400,000. Those with more will have to cover their workers or face a "fee" — another tax — equal to 8% of workers' wages.
"Why should I care?" you ask. "Those people are all rich." And, of course, they're the people "responsible" for your new "right." But even those at lower or middle incomes will face higher taxes under both the House and Senate bills. Individuals who decline to take part will be hit with a penalty of up to 2.5% of what they earn.
All told, Congress will raise taxes by $544 billion. Some "right."
By the way, among the "rights" that don't come with the new government-run plan are the "right" to treatment, the "right" to choose your own doctor, the "right" to see a doctor immediately and the "right" to a second opinion. Sorry.
This is more than just verbiage. It's quite similar, in fact, to what happened with Social Security and Medicare, the massive government-run health care program. They too are now considered by government and many Americans as "rights" (though the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that they are not).
Even so, the underlying assumption has led to runaway government spending on — you guessed it — health care. Over the next 50 years, according to the Social Security Trustees' annual report, Medicare alone will spend $38 trillion more than it takes in.
To fill that hole, taxes will have to be raised or care will have to be rationed. The new reforms will only make things worse. By Democrats' own estimates, they'll cost $1.5 trillion over just 10 years. Others think it'll be twice that.
Eventually, Medicare, Medicaid and the new "public option" will morph into one giant health care program consuming 17% or more of our GDP. Medicare and Medicaid are in fact bankrupt. Should we now let the same people who run those programs run all of health care and inoculate it from reform?
As for rights, what about our right to be left alone? The 10th Amendment — a real right — says: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution . . . are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention a "right" to health care. Absent a change in that document, Congress has no business introducing one.
'Nuff said. Now spread the word.
There's my two cents.