Private Insurance or Government: Power vs. More Power

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Political Philosophy

Nineteenth century English historian Lord Dalberg-Acton is famous for the saying, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The Republican stance on Nationalized Healthcare has been one in opposition to expanded government power; that individuals will lose the ability to make decisions on their own care. The Government will assume power over you and tell you, your doctors and hospitals what can and can’t be done. Nancy Pelosi just introduced the new counter argument, which can be summed up as “Well, you don’t have freedom anyway because the insurance companies control it all and run up your costs to their benefit. We’re just trying to make it fair.”

A Democratic strategy memo has been released by The Hill, outlining the message: “Remove the insurance companies from between you and your doctor— capping what they can force you to pay in out of pocket expenses, co-pays and deductibles, and giving you the peace of mind you will be covered for the care you need, if get sick, or if you change or lose your job.”

I want to point out a fundamental flaw in this idea that the Government will better serve people than insurance companies. In fact, this applies to the entire gamut of public vs. private issues. The entire notion that Government can fix problems of corruption in the private sector completely fails to recognize the source of greed – man – and assumes that men in positions of political power are somehow less corrupted when that power is of a commercial nature, where at least there are competing forces in the form of other companies; that politicians are immune to the disease of self-interest and therefore will only act in such a way that benefits their constituents.


“The entire notion that Government can fix problems of corruption in the private sector completely fails to recognize the source of greed – man – and assumes that men in positions of political power are somehow less corrupted when that power is of a commercial nature…”


The businessman, the entrepreneur, in fact Capitalism itself has been painted as the cancerous villain of society. But let me ask, who holds the true power in the marketplace? Don’t we have the full freedom to make choices about the services we seek. If one is too expensive can’t we go elsewhere. If one is untrustworthy isn’t it well within our power to opt out. You may not get what you want, but you’ll get what you can pay for. And if you really want something above your price range you work and save until you can purchase it.

But we aren’t the only one’s with choices. Every business owner has to make decisions. If he wants your business he will try to suit your needs by offering you the services you want at a price that is fair to you. Now, “fair” means something different to everyone, so the business owner will adjust his price to target a certain clientele. What is “fair” at Neiman Marcus may not be what is “fair” at Wal-Mart, but the fact that such a broad range of products and services is available is a tribute to the freedom and prosperity we enjoy in America.

This is Free-Market 101. The government stays out of the game and allows producers, consumers and those in between to negotiate the “fair” value of a product or service. In essence, we control the market because we are the market. What the current Democratic Party is trying to say is that the market controls us. This has been the theme of their campaign – that the people responsible for your suffering are the investors, the business owners, the doctors, the CEO’s, the people up the street who have a bigger house than you, the SUV-driving soccer mom, the guy at your job that went on vacation twice this year, and perhaps more than anyone it is the fault of the greedy old white protestant male power structure. These people enjoy their easy riches and positions of authority without ever thinking of your needs. In fact, they’re using this power to keep you down, to make you work harder and longer, and to make sure you don’t ever advance financially, because that would threaten their comfortable and secure position in the pecking order.

Well that’s complete and absolute rubbish. If a Class War is being waged in America it is purely one-sided. The American upper-class gives endlessly to the causes of the common man. Education, disease research, hospitals and local churches depend heavily on the contributions of wealthy individuals and on large businesses. This is in addition to 86% of the funding for government, including military protections and social welfare programs, which is seized from incomes in the the top 25%.

If you want to talk real abuse of power lets look at governments throughout history who have put their people into labor camps, instituted genocide in their communities and invaded the personal lives of their citizens to the point of complete control. They have policed and pillaged their countrymen, killed their wives, raped their daughters, and taken their sons as slaves. In ancient Sparta it was a common practice to discard defective – or female – children by leaving them in the wild to be killed off by the elements. In both the Old and New Testament of the Bible we find tyrants, ordering the mass murder of children throughout the region. For three hundred years Christians, among others, were murdered by man and beast at the hands of Roman Caesars. Hundreds were killed in England after being Protestant was made illegal. Millions were imprisoned or killed in the last century in the name of Socialism and Communism.


Because when a nation recognizes no authority higher than the institution of government then government can do no wrong; Because when there is no greater law imposed upon kings, and no basis for so-called natural rights to keep that power restrained then government is god; Because when people fail to recognize that their freedoms are slowly depleting in exchange for promises of provision and protection, they wake up one day realizing that their dignity and sovereignty are gone.


“…when there is no greater law imposed upon kings, and no basis for so-called natural rights to keep that power restrained then government is god.”


We have a Constitution that serves as the supreme law of the land. Its very purpose, down to the details of its intricate design, is to establish a sturdy but limited and slow government. The genius of the document is that it both entrusts power and restrains it. It gives power to large/populous states through the House of Representatives, yet counteracts it by giving power to small states through the Senate. It sets up three independent branches and forces them to fight one another. Congress is elected by an alternating election cycle, and the president is elected through a complicated electoral college process. Every design seems to counter the notion that government should be active and efficient.

Why would our Founders create such a system of government? Because “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Private citizens and private businesses, working together in a free market that encourages growth, innovation and competition is the best way for a society to prosper and see significant advances in health, education and quality of life. But when the government gets involved in the private sector – when the maker of laws decides to compete in the marketplace – it is not required to meet your standards, nor your price. If the government wants you to buy, it will make a law. Whatever it wants you to say or not say, do or not do, your compliance requires nothing more and nothing less than the threat of fine or imprisonment.

Physicians, hospitals and insurance companies are not the monsters that Mrs. Pelosi would have us believe. Rather, if we should fear anything it should be the next floor vote. For as Mark Twain quipped in 1866, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

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