In the lead-up the passage of Medicare in 1965, some warned of the imminent Apocalypse. Ronnie Raygun always viewed "socialized medicine" as the harbinger of Marxist-Leninism. Those warnings were strident and loud. The bill passed. Earlier these year, when the far right rumbled about replacing Medicare with a voucher program in which a person would have a credit voucher for several thousand dollars to take anywhere she or he pleased---Gee, I wonder how many clinics would fashion their initial examinations to cost just a hair under the total value of that voucher?---senior citizens raised quite a raucous opposition.
That is because, despite those dire predictions nearly 50 years ago---Raygun was an econ major? Well, at Dixon College, not exactly a bastion of academic excellence---Medicare has worked. The system is reliable. When health care reform has been mentioned, one proposal has been "Medicare for All." People would pay into the fund. The agency in charge would cap fees. There never was serious mention of a plan to scrap Medicare.
The fear of many opponents of Obamacare could be that the system will work. Already, premiums are falling, from what I have seen. Come October 1, I will be on the internet to see if I can enroll in a plan in a competitive market and get even more savings.
The irony is the doomsdayers ignore the reality of the present system. We have the most screwed up health care system in the so-called civilized world. It is said I have a "choice" under this system. Really? I opted for a PPO only because it cost one-third what I had been paying to the only health insurance carrier in our area. Anthem would not let me take advantage of the new, lower rates because there is a free on new insureds with pre-existing conditions until the last, possible moment---October 1. Health insurance companies are exempt from anti-trust laws. My "choice" is of the type that is the matter Ryan Ripley, my opponent in Saturday's debate on Obamacare, decries when he says Obamacare forces people to enter into a contract at gunpoint.
We will receive good healthcare at lower prices. Insurance CEOs might not get those hefty eight-figure bonuses, but I think that is a "bennie" the system can afford to lose.
Besides, what other advanced country has a system like ours? None. We, on the other hand, may observe the other systems in place and take advantage of the experiences of other countries.
As to the power of the Federal government to enact such a program, I think we should turn to a summary account written by a biographer of Alexander Hamilton:
"Broaching the vital doctrine of implied powers in numbers 30-34 [of The Federalist Papers], Hamilton asserted that in politics 'the means ought to be proportioned to the end ... [T]here ought to be no limitation of a power destined to effect a purpose.' He wanted the Constitution to be a flexible document: 'There ought to be a capacity to provide for future contingencies.'" Chernow, "Alexander Hamilton,"2004, p. 256.
The Constitution gave the Federal government the power to do that which needs to be done. Health care, as we know it, was little foreseen by the Framers. Possible contingencies in the country, however, were foreseen, and the Constitution was made sufficiently flexible to accommodate the means to address those contingencies.
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