ObamaCare’s Assault on Individual Rights

Staircase in Berlin, Germany, October 5, 2009 (Martin Teschner)

Staircase in Berlin, Germany, October 5, 2009 (Martin Teschner)

We’re told that Obamacare aims to make health care more affordable to more people, but in fact it threatens the rights of everyone involved in health care — doctors, patients, and health insurers — and thus the future of the industry.

Before Congress greases up yet another ramp on the already slippery slope toward socialized medicine, let’s pause to identify those endangered rights and some of the destructive consequences.

  • Insurance companies are profit-making businesses, not social welfare agencies. They have the right to charge premiums that reflect actual risk. But Obamacare would force them to cover almost every American — no matter how sick they already are, no matter how bad their health habits, no matter how high the cost of their exotic treatments — and to raise everyone’s premiums accordingly.
  • Doctors are morally entitled to regard themselves as profit-making professionals, not public servants. They have the right to charge fees that reflect the value received by all parties to the transaction. But Obamacare, by driving down permissible fees, will force physicians into a deadly conflict of interest: Either lose money by doing everything necessary to meet patients’ needs, or make money by satisfying some minimum bureaucratic standard.
  • Patients are sovereign individuals, not particles in a social organism. They have the right to buy all the health care they deem necessary and can afford, without apologizing to those who can’t afford it. But under Obamacare, patients will have the moral status of beggars at a soup kitchen who must uncomplainingly accept whatever gruel from the health care pot happens to land in their dish.

Let Obamacare be seen for what it is: yet another offensive in the long-running assault on individual rights in medicine.

This article originally appeared on Voices for Reason, March 19, 2010.