22 December 2008

A Good Sign

I was thrilled to flip to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal today and see that both Richard Ralston and Paul Hsieh had their letters-to-the-editor published.  Congratulations to both of them.

I was also encouraged by the tone of some of the adjacent commentary.  A couple of letters were clearly critical of government regulation and Fed meddling, and the main article on the next page was titled "Washington is Killing Silicon Valley."

The link to the editorials is here at the moment I am writing this, but since the contents change every day, I am reprinting Mr. Ralston's and Dr. Hsieh's letters in full below (Note 1):

You are probably correct that a major new national health-care program will be rushed through the next Congress without substantial debate through some mechanism such as budget reconciliation. That is because many of its elements would not survive close examination. The fatuous claim of Sen. Max Baucus that placing the nation's medical care under the rule of an "independent" council of presidentially appointed experts would not constitute government management of care is only the most conspicuous example. Others include the claim that computerizing those remaining medical records still on paper would reduce insurance costs by $2,500 a year per family.

But the main reason for the big rush is that nobody has a clue how the government will pay for it -- anymore than they know how the current unfunded liability of Medicare and Medicaid can be honored.

The last thing that proponents want is for anyone to ask where the money will come from, except perhaps questions about such details as the individual rights of patients and physicians to make their own medical decisions without the approval of presidentially appointed experts.

Richard E. Ralston 
Executive Director 
Americans for Free Choice in Medicine 
Newport Beach, Calif.

Businesses expecting to save money under President-elect Barack Obama's universal health-care plan are going to be in for a rude awakening. President-elect Obama's plan includes an employer mandate in which businesses must either pay their employee health insurance or else pay into a government fund to cover the uninsured.

A similar mandate has already been in place in Massachusetts for two years. As health costs there have skyrocketed, the state government has asked for more and more "contributions" from businesses. During this financial crisis, the last thing America needs is yet more economic burdens on the businessmen who create jobs and prosperity.

The fundamental problem with Mr. Obama's plan is the premise that health care is a "right" that must be guaranteed by the government. Health care is a need, not a right. Rights are freedoms of action, not automatic claims on goods and services that must be produced by another. Attempting to guarantee an alleged "right" to health care must necessarily violate actual individual rights and will destroy the American economy in the process.

Paul Hsieh, M.D. 
Sedalia, Colo.

1. Letters to the Editor, Wall Street Journal, 22 Dec 2008, p. A18.

1 comment:

Burgess Laughlin said...

Indeed, congratulations to Paul Hsieh and Richard Ralston. To have two letters from Objectivist intellectual and political activists published on the same subject, on the same day, and in the same prestigious journal is a possible sign of hope for the long-term.

> ". . . the main article on the next page was titled 'Washington is Killing Silicon Valley'."

I have not read the article. I have been looking for signs of influence of high-tech donors to President-elec Obama's campaign--that is, their influence on legislation coming up. Will they encourage legislators--as a matter of "practicality"--to liberate the economy (or at least their part of it) in small ways? If so, they might be a small precedent.