Monday, August 31, 2009

Rationing - Canadian vs. American Style

We Ration. We Ration. We Ration. We Ration.

My Commentary:

Posted by: Zemack | August 31, 2009 8:45 PM

Mr. Klein's line of reasoning fails to distinguish between earning one’s keep and getting something for nothing, between government force and voluntary trade. As any honest man knows, one cannot consume what one has not produced. As any honest man knows, one can morally consume what another has produced only after acquiring it by voluntary means…by trade or private charity. As any honest man ultimately knows, one cannot consume in excess of what one earns.

Being unable to afford the price of what someone else produces is not rationing, despite the fact that that term is sometimes used in reference to the laws of economics. Your money represents the value that you have created for someone else through your productive work ... be it a product, service, your labor, or what have you ... in a voluntary trade. You then use your money to purchase the healthcare you need in the same manner … by voluntary trade, on mutually agreed terms, to mutual benefit. If no voluntary agreement is reached, no trade takes place. The fact that one person can’t pay for a medical procedure, while another can (whether in cash or some other means such as a prior contractual agreement like insurance), is not rationing. Nor is it unfair in any way. In a health care free market - which America’s semi-socialist, semi-fascist, government-controlled system is not - physical force is absent.

Government is a unique institution, possessing a legal monopoly on the use of physical force. When government runs healthcare, it must necessarily use its coercive powers to dictate who gets what healthcare when, because when government pays, government sets the terms. The winners are the moochers, the losers are the self-supporting. The essence of government rationing is to forcibly deny health care to those who have earned it, for the sake of those who haven't. The essence of market "rationing" is justice ... each person must earn his health care, by his own effort, in voluntary trade with providers. To advocate the former over the latter is a moral perversion. But then, socialism in all of its collectivist forms is a moral perversion.

Rationing is government distribution of goods and services, as in both World Wars. It is force, and nothing else. There is no coercive central distributive authority outside of government (or government controlled quasi-private insurance giants), only millions of individuals producing and trading by mutual consent. But however one chooses to define rationing, the choice is stark. The choice is voluntary human association or brute bureaucratic state force; earned wealth or the unearned; market justice or "social justice"; the risk of going without or government dependence; the dollar or the gun; freedom or slavery.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Missing the Real Alternative In the Health Care Debate

In an 8/29/09 editorial, the New Jersey Star-Ledger discusses a growing practice called "medical tourism." In this piece, entitled Seeking affordable health care overseas, the Ledger also exposes the fraudulant choice being presented to the American people.



My Commentary:

Posted by Zemack on 08/29/09 at 10:22PM

Also called "medical tourism", the Star-Ledger hints at what free markets create - competitive conditions under which "patients can receive quality care at lower costs". But the editors don't draw the obvious lesson from their own observations. Instead, the Ledger exposes a gross fraud being put over on the American people by the Left during this health care debate...that the only choice we face is between the status quo and complete socialized medicine. What's missing from this false choice is the third option - the only real antipode to the two choices cited above - a free market in health care. In this, the Left is all too often aided and abetted by conservatives and Republicans who, as the editors point out, merely defend "the world's greatest health system."

Ours does have its strengths. It is still the freest, making America the engine of innovation. If it weren't for America's market, cutting edge medical technology research would dry up, both here and abroad.

But the fact is, our "sick" American health care system is a government created monstrosity. Nearly 50% of healthcare spending is by government, through programs like Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, and a host of smaller state-level carbon copies...socialism. Nearly 40% of the spending is through the allegedly "free" part - the quasi-private, government created, government regulated, and government protected cartel of health insurance companies. The third-party-payer system and the state-imposed trade barriers protect them from nationwide competition as well as the necessity of having to compete directly for the consumer's business. Hundreds of government-imposed insurance mandates (nearly 2000 nationwide, from community rating to guaranteed issue to benefit) have turned "insurance" policies into pre-paid wealth redistribution schemes. Our government-crippled insurance market has turned private insurers into conduits for government coercion. This is not indicative of a free market, but is in the nature of fascism...i.e., socialism through the back door. This double-barreled government assault on medicine creates huge and unnecessary administrative expenses, empowers government and insurance company bureaucrats, disrupts the patient/doctor relationship, drives up costs, disconnects the patient from the providers, etc.

The problems in American medicine have grown in lock step with the growth of government intervention over the past 75 years. Any honest and objective healthcare reform debate must begin with an examination of how we got to this point to begin with. That is not what is happening. Instead, we get defenders of the semi-socialist, semi-fascist, semi-free status quo ... against those advocating more government control and/or outright nationalization masquerading as "reform". We get statists on each side, while the freedom alternative gets no major party sponsorship.

The only real alternative to all of the above is a free market. Instead of everyone being forced to pay for everyone else's healthcare, whether through government-run programs or government-controlled "private" insurers, people should be free to assume responsibility for their own healthcare with their own money. Insurers and providers should be free to compete directly for the consumers' business. A free market leaves patients, providers, consumers, and insurers free to contract voluntarily with each other to mutual advantage, based upon the principle of individual rights, without the kind of massive government coercion noted above. The absence of physical force is the hallmark of a free market. That is what the "free" in free market means. The government's only job, but an important one, is to protect against fraud and breech of contract, and to mediate legitimate contractual disputes.

The natural incentives of a free market ... the consumer seeking good value and the provider seeking expanded sales ... have been proven both in theory and practice to lead to increasing quality and ever-expanding affordability. Health care is more valuable and needed than most other products and services, but it is no different in the most basic fundamental respect ... it is man-made. As such, the same laws of economics apply to medicine as to any other economic sector. Most importantly, a free market is the only moral solution, because it forbids the predatory practice of people seeking to force others to provide for them what they perceive to be their "right" to healthcare. Instead, everyone is guaranteed their unalienable rights to their own life, liberty, and pursuit of their own health care (and happiness).

Related Reading:

Medical tourism Booms in Costa Rica via FIRM

See also The Henry Ford of Heart Surgery, Open-Heart Surgery--90% off, and Club Med.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Individualism, Collectivism, and "the Cause of Waste"

Amit Ghate has written a terrific piece, Misconstruing the Cause of Waste, which was published on Pajamas Media. He writes:

"Once again, the president has it backwards. But in flouting economics, he reveals his stance on a much deeper issue, one which is determining the fate of the country: individualism vs. collectivism.

"Individualism — the country’s founding idea — holds that each man is a moral end in himself.

"So how does this apply to waste? Waste, by definition, means 'spending to no avail or profit.' But observe that when men are free to pursue their own values, they’re incentivized to act carefully.

"Accordingly, under individualism, waste is minimized by each person, one transaction at a time. Indeed, the 'cost discipline' which free markets are so famous for emerges from this very fact.

"Contrast this to the collectivist approach favored by our current politicians. Under their view, the individual isn’t an end in himself, but merely a cog in the machine, a means to the group’s 'good.'

"The ramifications to waste are threefold. First, by prohibiting certain activities, government eliminates competition...Next, because it can confiscate our money to pay its bills, government has little incentive to control costs...Finally, because the government has usurped their prerogatives, individuals no longer decide what is worthwhile and what isn’t. Government forcibly disconnects the decision of what’s valuable from the people who actually pay for the values."


My Commentary:

32. Mike Zemack:

Amit Ghate has done a terrific job of exploding another of the many fallacious arguments against freedom in medicine. More importantly…and I know I’m not the first to acknowledge this…Mr. Ghate identifies the basic philosophical conflict that will determine the future direction of American healthcare and of America generally. Only capitalism is consonant with the premise that the sovereign individual is the standard of value, because it alone bans predatory force in human relations. All other social systems (including welfare statism and democracy) embody collectivism to some degree, with the rulers as omnipotent representatives of the collective. This cannot be stressed too often or too strongly. Collectivism is tyranny, and the only humane antipode to it is individualism.

I also have to address correspondent #2, Anonymous. His comments bring to mind a passage from Francisco’s “money speech” in Atlas Shrugged:

“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.”

Anonymous condemns the money earned by the people who produce the valuable products and services without which there would be no healthcare debate. He demands “government intervention in the health care market” to grab by force for himself the “benefit from the advances in medical technology” so he doesn’t have to “line the pockets of these folks”… the very folks in the “private system that does not value human beings” who produce the goods that can keep Anonymous and his ilk healthy and alive.

Read Francisco’s money speech, then draw your own conclusions about the ethical character of Anonymous.

Also relevant to his comments is Harry Binswanger’s “The Dollar and the Gun”.




Aug 25, 2009 - 4:58 pm

Sunday, August 16, 2009

WF's John Mackey on Health Care Reform

A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has ignited quite a “debate” on WF’s website under the heading “Health Care Reform”. I place the term debate in quotation marks because, well, the pro-Obamacare minions have mostly remained true to form…resorting to what my daughter told me is “absolute hatred [that] is sickening”.

What warranted this vitriolic outburst against the man who runs a very successful company that heretofore had been a favorite of what my son-in-law calls the “stereotypical tree-hugger clientele”? Judge for yourself from these brief excerpts:

"While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:"

After detailing the eight free-market reforms he advocates (He does not endorse laissez faire.), he goes on:

"Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals.

"Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America.

"Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.

"Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society."


Take responsibility for your own healthcare, and give us some freedom to do so. But you do not have the right to demand that someone else provide it. What can be more American than that? Apparently, there are plenty of people in the country that have no right to call themselves Americans.

Here is my contribution to that “debate”:

Thank you, Mr. Mackey, for advocating real reform, not more of the same old government interference masquerading as "change". The problems in American healthcare have grown in lock step with the growth of government intervention over the past 75 years. Real reform begins by recognizing that fact.

But, especially, thank you for recognizing the core issue, the nature of individual rights.

The fundamental question surrounding the healthcare debate is: Does the individual own his own life based upon the principle of unalienable rights, as the Founders understood? Or is he the property of the state (or "society", as represented by the state), as every dictator in world history preached?

Consider the claim that a manmade product such as healthcare is a right, and what it actually means in practice. If someone requires medical care, then the providers (doctors, nurses, pharmaceutical and device makers, etc.) must be legally obligated (i.e., compelled) to provide their services to that person. Likewise, that person’s neighbor, or the guy 3000 miles away, must be legally obligated to pay for his treatment. In other words, the providers whose skills make medical care possible, as well as those whose taxes pay for it, are serfs.

Rights, properly understood, are guarantees to freedom of action and place no obligation or duty on the individual save one…to respect the same rights of all. The idea of a right to material values such as health care forces an involuntary servitude on others to provide it. Any "right" to products or services that must be produced by others obliterates our actual rights to life, liberty, and property. That is why the alleged "right" to health care requires a government takeover of the medical field…to give the state the power to loot and enslave the productive and self-reliant.

A free market based upon actual individual rights is the only moral solution to our healthcare "crisis".

Thank you again, Mr. Mackey. You have more supporters than you may know!

-Mike Zemack



And here is my rebuttal to a Canadian supporter of Obamacare who thinks he knows what our Founding documents say:

"We are Canadians and are appalled at Mr. Mackey's comments about health care in Canda. Universality of access is a basic tenet of Canada's medicare programme. Moreover, I can't believe that the president of a company that purports to have a social conscience could argue that there is no intrinisic right to health care. The American constitution guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pusuit of happiness. Ctizens without access to medical care when needed, are deprived of their right to these constitutional guarantees."


Harvey Williams misunderstands America’s founding documents. It is not the Constitution, but the Declaration of Independence that "guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". The Constitution enumerates those rights, which are guarantees to freedom of action in pursuit of happiness. There is no right to healthcare, food, or any other product or service that must be provided by others.

The idea of a right to material values such as health care forces an involuntary servitude on others to provide it. Any "right" to products or services that must be produced by others obliterates our actual rights to life, liberty, and property.

Many of us Americans are not so quick to hand over our freedom in healthcare to an elite, politically appointed gaggle of "medical experts" that we don’t know and that don’t know us, in exchange for a "free" appendectomy or cholesterol pill.

Mr. Mackey, by defending individual rights based upon their true, moral meaning, is exhibiting the real nature of a "social conscience".

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"A nation / One Body" - the Enemy's Decaying Intellectual Corpse

Subsequent to my comments, another correspondent left this in the Star-Ledger Reader Forum. This discussion was the subject of my post of 8/4/09.

HSR0601 wrote, in part:

"U.S. health care consumers are usually one step removed from the cost because they are covered by employer-provided insurance, which might operate as a formula for a slow pace of transfer, along with the code of mandate.

"All free states as a nation / one body, and a fundamental human right, cover all their people. The debate about a human right, or public policy
in America is puzzling them now."


My commentary:

Posted by Zemack on 08/08/09 at 7:23PM

The fundamental conflict of the health care debate comes down to the age-old battle of collectivism vs. individualism. HSR0601 argues for the collectivist side:

"All free states as a nation / one body, and a fundamental human right, cover all their people."

"Slavery", in other words, "is freedom". The idea that there is a "fundamental human right" to any man-made product such as healthcare depends on the view of human beings as interchangeable cells in some super-organism, or ants in a hill colony, or "a nation / one body". The collectivist notion of "one body" is a floating abstraction with no basis in reality. Any group such as a nation, or society, or the public consists of independent, autonomous, individual human beings...each with his own stomach, heart, goals, values, character, and mind.

Collectivism serves a sinister purpose, though. Consider what the alleged "right" to health care actually means in practice.

If someone requires medical care, then the doctors, nurses, pharmaceutical and device makers, etc., must be legally obligated (i.e., compelled) to provide their services to that person. Likewise, that person's neighbor, or the guy 3000 miles away, must be legally obligated to pay for his treatment. In other words, the providers whose skills make medical care possible, as well as those whose taxes pay for it, are serfs. There is no other way. That is why the alleged "right" to health care requires a government takeover of the medical field...to give the state the power to loot and enslave the people. We would all become both slaves and moochers.

HSR0601s "a nation / one body" argument is a cover to justify...on the altruist grounds that "we are our brothers', and our sisters', keepers", as the president likes to say...the grab for unearned goods and control over other people's lives. Collectivism is the doctrine by, for, and of the parasites and the power-lusters. It's incredible that, after Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Red China, and all of the lesser variants of collectivism, this idea can still be taken seriously.

We don't need the third-party-payer system, which empowers insurers; or the mandates and interstate trade barriers, which cripple the insurance industry; or Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, EMTALA, etc, which empower government bureaucrats and enslave all to all. We need to abolish the current semi-socialized, semi-fascist, government regulated system, in favor of the only moral alternative - freedom (the real kind), individual rights, a rights-protecting government, and free markets in medicine.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nothing "Vague" About Freedom

The following letter and comment was published in the Star-Ledger Reader Forum on 8/4/09

Short-sighted opposition

As a patient currently in chemotherapy for an aggressive cancer, I am amazed that some people can be opposed to health care reform that includes a "public plan." Without Medicare -- the government plan that has been in operation for decades, which paid for a necessary surgical biopsy and is now paying for the therapy at the cancer center of my choice -- I would probably be destitute soon if I had to rely only on the private plan whose premiums I paid all these years.

I'm surely not alone. Anyone over 65 who has unfortunately needed health care has almost certainly blessed their access to insurance support from this "public plan." The opposition of younger people, who can safely bet they will be older someday, seems to me curiously short-sighted.

In my view, the most reasonable and effective government insurance program would be a carefully thought-out single-payer plan, which, during these long months of hearings, has been kept off the table by big insurance and big drug companies whose profits leave them lots of money to pay lots of lobbyists.

Those who complain about a vaguely defined loss of freedom under government regulation might reflect that without a public plan, the American public will be free to get very sick indeed.

Alice Mariani, Hillsborough

Posted by patriots4u on 08/04/09 at 9:34AM

Alice Mariani, Hillsborough wrote:
Those who complain about a vaguely defined loss of freedom under government regulation might reflect that without a public plan, the American public will be free to get very sick indeed.


It is not vaguely defined in the text of the bill itself. Yes, the bill is difficult to read, but after taking some time and going through the first 100 pages or so already, I'm finding some disturbing things.

There is a section (pg 16) on Protecting Choice, but it clearly defines that after the bill goes into affect you cannot change or re-enroll in your current coverage. How ironic.

There is a section (pg 50) on Prohibiting Discrimination in Health Care, that first states "EXCEPT as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act...".
So the Government is free to discriminate, but the rest of us aren't.

Here is another section that blatantly states if the bill is found to be Unconstitutional, too bad.
pg 53 - SEC. 155. SEVERABILITY.
"If any provision of this Act, or any application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of the provisions of this Act and the application of the provision to any other person or circumstance shall NOT be affected.

Try reading the bill, and let me know if your opinion still stands.



My Commentary:

Posted by Zemack on 08/04/09 at 9:08PM

patriots4u is right to be concerned about the effects this bill will have on our freedom. Alice Mariani calls these kinds of objections "a vaguely defined loss of freedom under government regulation". So, let's clear up the "vagueness" by defining our terms.

Freedom means only one thing - unalienable individual rights. As the Declaration of Independence states, we are all endowed equally with these rights. Importantly, rights are guarantees to freedom of action within a social context...such as the rights to speech, religious practice, and the earning of property through productive work and voluntary, mutually beneficial trade. A right is not an automatic claim on the products, services, earnings, skills, or property produced by others. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by any other person, group, or the government.

Clearly, Medicare (and all such welfare state schemes) is a massive violation of individual rights. Medicare did not, as Ms. Mariani claims, pay for her treatment. Nor did it come from any personal-type account funded by her's or a spouse's earnings. That money was confiscated from other people through force of taxation, in clear violation of both the constitution and their individual rights. There is nothing vague about that.

The treatment she receives was made possible by the social conditions created by America's founding principles of individual rights and limited rights-protecting government...principles that are now eroding. The scientists, entrepreneurs, businessmen, inventors, and investors had the freedom to think and act on their own judgement, invest their own time and money, set their own goals, take their own risks, produce the healthcare products and services and offer them for sale to willing buyers, and profit from their achievements under the protection of a government of objective laws. There is nothing vague about that. Again, that freedom is steadily eroding.

Obamacare would wipe out the last vestiges of that freedom. Does Ms. Mariani really want the conditions that existed before the Enlightenment, the American Revolution, and capitalism, which made possible the rise, in a mere 200 years, of modern medicine? That was a time when people really were "free to get very sick indeed", and suffer and die young without the hope that our freedom-spawned modern medicine gives us.

As to the healthcare "reform" bill, it is a dictatorial monstrosity. patriots4u only scratches the surface. Care will be heavily rationed. Providers will be enslaved. Innovation will be smothered in this, the last remnants of a free market. As Marc K. Siegel writes in the 8/3/09 NY Post, there will be "new committees and commissioners with undefined but far-reaching powers -- a Health Choices Commissioner, a Health Benefits Advisory Committee, a Comparative Effectiveness Committee, a Task Force on Clinical Preventative Services..."

I acknowledge that Medicare has been popular, but it is beginning to break down, with more and more doctors dropping out. Ms. Mariani is enjoying the early "workable" phase of this Ponzi scheme. But that is coming to an end. In the bill is this gem for seniors to behold:

"A prime example comes in the section starting on page 425 of the House bill. This dictates that an Advanced Care Planning Consultation must take place every five years from the age of 65 -- with the intervention of so-called counselors, trained and appointed by the government. [Many] senior citizens [will] be shortchanged or pushed prematurely to euthanasia.

Whose decision should it be to phase out such people? The government's?"


Yes, according to this bill.

I have been forced to pay into Medicare for more than four decades, and am approaching enrollment age. For that, I will be confronted with the complete loss of my freedom...my individual rights...to determine, in consultation with my doctor, the appropriate treatment and payment options. Bean-counting state bureaucrats who don't know or care about my circumstances will have complete power.

I will spend the rest of my life...whatever time the state allows me...fighting to abolish Medicare, controls and regulations on insurers and providers, and other state intrusions into medicine. For the sake of my children, grandchildren, and anyone who values freedom, I will fight for free market capitalism, individual rights, and a government that protects our rights - as a moral imperative.

More on the "Public Option"

The following letter was published in the Star-Ledger Reader Forum om 8/4/09.

Where's the freedom?

In your editorial "Making a mess of it" (July 26) regarding health care reform, you make the incredibly specious reference to free enterprise and government competition in the health insurance industry.

Since when does the government compete with the private sector? The federal government's function is to promote free commerce, not impede it. What kind of competition are we talking about where one player makes the rules for the other? The government has no entrepreneurial risk when it has the power of taxation.

The federal and state governments have already made the rules for the private sector players. This has led directly and indirectly to rising costs. These costs in turn increase the uninsured rolls. Now the public option proposes to set reimbursement at Medicare levels, while the private players must abide by reserve formulas based on loss ratios. No such regulations exist for the government plan.

From whom will patients seek remedy when the federal board refuses to pay? Who regulates the "public option"?

Competition? Please.

Jerry Kopychuk, Hackettstown


My Commentary:

Posted by Zemack on 08/04/09 at 5:28PM

Jerry Kopychuk is exactly right, and I'd like to expand on this notion of "public - private" competition.

The government is a unique institution, distinguished by its legal monopoly on the use of physical force. America's great achievement was to limit that compulsive power to the protection of our inalienable individual rights. That is government's proper role. Stepping outside of those constraints invalidates government, as America's Founders understood.

The proposed "public option" is intended to destroy private health insurance, and clear the way for single-payer medical tyranny. Everyone knows it. The politicians will do whatever it takes to support their "competitor". They will use government's tax and monetary powers to keep premiums "affordable"; regulatory powers to hamper private insurers; force below-market prices on providers; harass private executives with explicit or implied "back-room" threats using the arbitrary and capricious powers of the regulatory apparatus, the IRS, or antitrust division of the Justice Department. The employment of government's unique powers of legalized physical force to destroy private businesses, industries, and livelihoods is legalized criminality.

Obama's plan is a continuation of the trend of the past 50-75 years...socialized medicine through the fascist back door. There is nothing "market-oriented" about it. There is, in fact, nothing market-oriented about our current semi-socialized, government controlled system.

Nevertheless, to allege that there can be "competition" between a government plan and private business is to equate an armed thug with his victims. The aim is to snuff out the last shreds of freedom and individual rights in American medicine. The public "option" is organized crime on a scale that relegates Al Capone to the status of a petty thief.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Health Care - Not the "Right" Thing to Do

The following two letters appeared in the Star-Ledger Reader Forum on 8/1/09. One is pro-socialized medicine, and the other is against. The second letter-writer is on the right track.

Health care reform

Months of debate have produced "health care" bills that need life support. They are so riddled with conditions that they are doomed to destruct. The original concept has been shot full of holes, bearing little resemblance to what I think Americans really want: a chance for them and their families to be healthy and to get reasonable treatment when not, without having to take out a second mortgage.

Why have dozens of civilized countries been able to provide health care for all, for decades, at a sensible cost, but America cannot? I believe it is because they, unlike America, do not view health care as a cash cow for private interests, but "the right thing to do", and a social investment in its own citizens.

Why is it so much easier for Congressmen to fund killing, than caring? For the last 8 years, they have ignored domestic needs while throwing over a trillion dollars to support invasive war and brutal destruction - and barely debating it. Yes, they have prioritized death, injury and displacement of over a million civilians, and have subjected our military and their families to an untenable burden.

Have they all lost their minds? Have we, to accept this from our elected officials, who are our employees?

Jo Sippie-Gora, Kinnelon.


Wrong on health rights

In a letter to the editor ("Health care is a right," July 30) a writer stated that health care was a human rights issue. Some argue that health care is a "precondition of life itself." This argument is flawed. There are other more important preconditions for life, such as food, shelter, and clothing.

If health care is a right, how did our forefathers miss that? It's "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," not life, an appointment with a doctor, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The question of health care is not rights, but how best to provide health care at the lowest possible cost. The outcome would make health care more affordable.

The number of "uninsured" Americans that is thrown around, 45 million, is easily corrected when you look at the 2007 census. The truer figure is 22 million once you remove the 14 million undocumented workers, the 15 percent who choose not to have insurance for their own reasons and those 5 percent that are between jobs.

The true way to provide affordable health care to more of those 22 million citizens is to foster competition between insurers. Remove restrictions on citizens crossing state lines to seek affordable health care. Limit malpractice lawsuits. Keep your freedom to choose, don't turn health care over to a swollen, mismanaged federal government.

W. Paul Kelley, Berkeley Heights


My Commentary:

W. Paul Kelley is absolutely correct. Health care is not and can not be a right. Neither can any man-made product or service.

The fundamental principle that America was founded upon is unalienable individual rights possessed equally by all people, at all times, and protected equally and at all times by government. Rights are guarantees to freedom of action within a social context...such as the rights to speech, religious practice, and the earning of property through productive work and voluntary, mutually beneficial trade. A right is not an automatic claim on the products, services, earnings, skills, or property produced by others.

Consider the claim that a manmade product such as healthcare is a right, and what it actually means in practice. If someone requires medical care, then the doctors, nurses, pharmaceutical and device makers, etc., must be legally obligated (i.e., compelled) to provide their services to that person. Likewise, that person’s neighbor, or the guy 3000 miles away, must be legally obligated to pay for his treatment. In other words, the providers whose skills make medical care possible, as well as those whose taxes pay for it, are serfs.

Rights, properly understood, are political and place no obligation or duty on the individual save one…to respect the same rights of all. The idea of economic rights…the right to material values such as health care…forces an involuntary servitude on others to provide it. Economic rights...which are actually entitlements, not rights...obliterate our actual rights to life, liberty, and property. That is why the alleged “right” to health care requires a government takeover of the medical field…to give the state the power to loot and enslave the people.

This is not, as Jo Sippie-Gora claims, "the right thing to do", no matter how many other peoples and nations say so. The sacrifice of the productive and self-supporting to the parasites and the power-lusters has been the scourge of mankind that the United States of America was created to banish; by guaranteeing to each human being the rights to his own life, his own liberty, his own earned property, and the pursuit of his own goals and happiness.

All of us fighting against "universal health care" must recognize that health care is not a right…if all manifestations of socialized medicine are to be stopped and the proper free market reforms can be implemented.

The Soul of the Single Payer Advocate

The following letter appeared in the Star-Ledger Reader Forum on 7/30/09

Better in Canada

Canadian-style health care is much better than even insured services in New Jersey.

Americans are debating health care insurance, and they should. I can tell you that having a health care insurance system available to everyone is way better than the systems in place in New Jersey, even for those with insurance plans, and infinitely better for those who can't afford the private plans. I grew up in New Jersey and married a Canadian, and now live in Canada, but have a relative with health issues still in New Jersey, so I have a good comparison.

With a publicly organized health care insurance plan, you can concentrate on your health, instead of your bank balance. No different list of doctors depending on which plan you are in. No HMO to deal with. Find a local doctor, make an appointment, show your health card -- that's it. Specialists are covered by referral from there. Just the reduced stress in dealing with the health care system is a health benefit.

Kathleen O'Neil, Toronto


My Commentary:

Posted by Zemack on 08/02/09 at 8:40AM

Kathleen O'Neil writes:

"With a publicly organized health care insurance plan, you can concentrate on your health, instead of your bank balance."

But your bank balance represents something profoundly moral...the money earned through your own productive work. Your money represents your means of purchasing the goods and services you need but that are produced by others. Your bank balance stands for your ability to earn your own keep.

By disconnecting "your bank balance" from your responsibility to "concentrate on your own health", Ms. O'Neil is in essence demanding that someone else be forced to pay for your health care.

The real soul of the advocates of a "Canadian-style", "publicly organized health care insurance plan" is the moocher.

Rights vs. Privileges

This letter was published in the Star-Ledger Reader Forum on 7/30/09.

Health care a right

After reading the article, "Twenty-somethings contemplate Obama's health care plan," (July 27) it became even more evident to me the national crisis we face with our health care system. As a college graduate, I have seen so many of my friends struggle to find jobs and have an even harder time getting insured after they were kicked off their parent's insurance plan.

America is one of the leading industrialized countries, and yet has one of the worst health care systems in the western world. The health care system we have now will never sustain itself, and it is time for reform.

If we reform our health care system we will also be strengthening our economy. So many Americans are left uninsured and have no other option but to go to the emergency room for even minor health problems. Because of this, taxpayers pay more.

Having private companies compete with a public health care option will bring the cost of the health care down for even the people who are already insured.

With health care reform our economy will recover and job opportunities will increase. Most importantly, the health of our nation will improve. It is not a privilege, but a human right to have health insurance.

Victoria Maione, Hamilton


My Commentary:

Posted by Zemack on 08/02/09 at 8:05AM

Victoria Maione claims that health insurance (and, by implication, health care "is not a privilege, but a human right".

What, then, constitutes a right? As laid out in America’s founding documents, a right is not a grant from any politician, state, or collective such as society or a democratic majority. A right is an unalienable sanction of the freedom to take action, such as freedom of speech, association, religious practice, etc.

A right is not an automatic claim on the products, services, earnings, skills, or property produced by others.

So what, exactly, is a privilege? According to Webster’s, it is:

"An exceptional law made in favor of or against any individual… a right, immunity, benefit, or advantage granted to some person, group of persons, or class, not enjoyed by others and sometimes detrimental to them." (Emphasis added.)

Now, keeping in mind the definitions cited above, consider the claim that a manmade product such as healthcare (or health insurance) is a right, and what it actually means in practice. If someone requires medical care, then the doctors, nurses, pharmaceutical and device makers, etc., must be legally obligated (i.e., compelled) to provide their services to that person. In other words, the providers whose skills make medical care possible are serfs. Likewise, that person’s neighbor, or the guy 3000 miles away, must be legally obligated to pay for his treatment. In other words, they are armed robbery victims.

Every person in a free society has a right to take the actions required to satisfy his own healthcare needs. He has no right to rob his neighbor to pay for them, nor force any provider to “serve” him, nor elect politicians to impose those obligations. There is no such thing as a “right” to healthcare or any other man-made product, beyond what one can pay for himself through a voluntary transaction with those who produce it.

What Ms. Maione has actually accomplished is to invert the meanings of the words privilege and right. This new privileged class of healthcare consumer is thus granted “rights” that are “detrimental to” and “against” the very people needed most…doctors and other providers. The alleged “right” to health insurance is actually a privilege granted to some by force of government, at the expense of the freedom and property of others.

Victoria Maione should learn that words have meanings because what she and her ilk advocate, whether they are honest enough or even conscious enough to acknowledge…is the right to enslave.