(who has decided to use his full name, at least when authoring blog entries, now that he is a regular
In response to your recent entry, “The deadly threat of Obamacare, and the intellectually lazy conservatives who do not see it,” I’ve been struggling to wrap my head around the recent developments with respect to Obamacare, and failing. I haven’t had a lot of time to do so. My son’s college roommate is in the hospital with a life-threatening staph infection that he probably acquired in a locker room. It is resistant to antibiotics, and there is a good chance that he is beyond help, and will die in the next few days.
So I’ve been thinking about Obamacare; about my son’s roommate, his young life hanging by a thread just a mile or so from where I worked, and about how without our top-notch medical system he would certainly be dead already. And I started getting really, really angry. Because, you see, Obamacare is set to demolish the pharmaceutical industry (in more or less the same way it is set to destroy the medical device industry) at the very moment in evolutionary history when many of our antibiotics are beginning to fail. Gonorrhea has already moved from an inconvenience to a dreaded diagnosis, on account of the fact that it has evolved out from under our antibiotics. TB and pneumonia are also more and more resistant to them. In order to avoid a fairly serious uptick in deaths from these diseases—not to say the word “plague”—we will need massive, massive investment in pharmaceutical R&D. And if Obama’s plans for the pharmaceutical business are carried through, there will be no such investment, because Obamacare will prevent investments in pharmaceutical R&D from being profitable.
Then there is Obamacare’s unprecedented information-gathering on patients. That requires no explanation. Seeking treatment for an STD? HHS owns you.
Then too I have been struggling to encompass the repercussions of the recent HHS mandate that enterprises that provide insurance to employees must cover them for contraception and abortion. The fact that this is an attack on conservative Christianity, and on freedom of religion, is already well understood in the public discourse. But what I have not heard mentioned anywhere is the fact that, even if the Catholic bishops win their battle, and Christian organizations are allowed a permanent exemption from this requirement, no other enterprises in the country will be exempted. Everyone seems to be taking it for granted that this is perfectly logical, perfectly OK and within the pale. But, of course, it means that any conservative Christian, Jew or Muslim who works for a non-religious organization—i.e., almost all such people—will be forced to help pay for abortions and contraception.
Never mind the individual mandate that everyone must buy health insurance; that’s the least of it. For, through back-door regulation of what health insurance must cover, Obamacare effectually forces everyone who is covered to buy abortions.
Or, for that matter, anything else that HHS in its wisdom dictates that we must buy. In the HHS mandate we can see revealed another whole salient of Obamacare’s attack on our culture, that I had never properly reckoned. Because HHS has power under the law to write large sections of it—to fill in the details that Congress delegated to the agency (a normal practice in our system of government)—the Administration is free to re-jigger our notions of normality with complete freedom. If HHS can mandate that I pay for abortions, it can mandate also that I pay for sex changes. It can mandate that I pay for artificial conception services for homosexual couples. It can mandate that I pay for diet drugs and liposuction. It can mandate almost anything. Most such mandates will not be as controversial and newsworthy as the mandate that we all buy abortions. So, they will slide into effect unnoticed. And the mandates could conceivably reach far down into the details of the lives of every insured person. Diet, exercise, smoking; nothing is off the table. Through our insurance policies—or, as they are increasingly understood, health maintenance plans—and thanks to the detailed information gathering and consolidation I’ve already mentioned, our lives can be regulated in detail.
How long do you think it will be before HHS mandates that insurance policies must, not just pay for certain treatments, but require them? As, say, a condition of continued coverage?
How long do you think it will be before HHS mandates required treatment for certain mental and emotional illnesses? The public schools are already medicating boys with Ritalin. How long before boys and men who are “aggressive” are forced to submit to sedation, electro-convulsive therapy, or institutionalization?
How long do you think it will be before Obamacare begins to consider conservative political or cultural convictions a mental or emotional illness, that require therapy or medication? When you think about it, have you not already begun to hear a murmuring about how conservatives are defective, or subnormal?
I tell you, if Obamacare is not repealed, we are headed for the gulag. Count on it.