The march toward socialized medicine

Recently the Obama Administration floated two proposals that would have negatively impacted anyone with private health insurance. First, there was the Administration’s willingness to consider taxing the cash value of employee health benefits as ordinary income; the second was the Administration’s plan to charge veterans directly for the treatment of service-related injuries by shifting those costs to private insurance. (The Administration hastily withdrew this idea in the wake of strong objections from veterans groups.)

A few weeks ago, critics speculated whether or not those proposals were signals from the Obama Administration that they would shortly begin a concerted effort to undermine the effectiveness of private insurance in order to gin up popular support for a single, comprehensive, centrally planned and administered government health care system. Indeed, one has to wonder how many of the crises currently plaguing our nation will be used by the Administration in the coming months as a foothold for socialized medicine.

Yesterday’s formally announced take-over of GM by the Obama Administration caused one blogger to raise the possibility of a “US Manufacturing Rescue Act of 2009” that could be introduced as part of the administration’s proposed “restructuring” of the auto industry. Such a fictional bill could shift auto workers and other employees currently under government oversight out of private pensions and health insurance and into government-managed health insurance and retirement programs, ostensibly to ease the burden of high corporate legacy costs, thereby making those industries profitable again.

And yesterday, Drudge announced the launch of a new website from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Division, US Department of Health and Human Services: “A Guide To Getting Through Economic Tough Times.” Even though it can be argued that the Federal government was largely responsible for the conditions that caused this recession in the first place, I suppose it’s nice to know that Uncle Sam is looking out for our mental health in these days of crisis and uncertainty.

But this only makes me wonder how the Obama Administration will use the alleged fragile mental health of the nation to justify yet another Federal power grab. Perhaps it will be a new Federal program to provide free or subsidized mental health services to low income Americans who have been hardest hit by the recession — and in the process, all mental health services will have to become Federalized. Perhaps the Administration will set aside another huge chunk of cash for “family planning,” since the current economic downturn has made it impossible for poor Americans to afford more children. This or course would mean more Federal involvement in clinics and hospitals that provide birth control and abortion services. FOCA seems tailor-made for this, doesn’t it?

This Administration has already made it clear that it will never allow a crisis to go to waste. Our healthcare system seems to be next in line for an Obama “restructuring.” What will be next?

Pay for Performance Act of 2009
MEP Daniel Hannan on Morning Joe