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Article posted Jul 02 2012, 2:07 AM Category: Commentary Source: Jacob G. Hornberger Print

The Mandate Was Never the Issue

by Jacob G. Hornberger

It really doesn’t matter which way the Supreme Court ruled on President Obama’s healthcare mandate. As long as the government is involved in healthcare, there is going to be an endless series of interventions, leading ultimately to a total government takeover of the entire healthcare arena.

For months, we have seen conservatives obsessing over the mandate, suggesting that the defeat of the mandate would be some sort of gigantic victory for economic freedom.

What nonsense. The reason that the mandate was enacted was to address the healthcare crisis. If the mandate had failed to pass or if it had been declared unconstitutional, the government programs that instigated the crisis would have remained in existence. That would have necessarily entailed some other type of new interventions to address the existing crisis.

The fundamental problem is that conservatives and, of course, liberals continue to firmly embrace the programs that are at the root of the healthcare crisis: Medicare, Medicaid, medical licensure, and government regulation. As long as the root causes of the healthcare crisis are permitted to remain in existence, the healthcare crisis will continue to exist, which means that both conservatives and liberals will inevitably be coming up with their own favorite interventions to address the crisis, which will only worsen the crisis, which will mean, of course, calls for new interventions.

There is but one solution to America’s healthcare woes — to get rid of the root cause of such woes. That means an immediate repeal (not reform) of Medicare, Medicare, medical licensure, and healthcare and insurance regulation — and a repeal of the taxes that are collected to fund such things. The solution involves a complete separation of healthcare and the state, just as our ancestors separated religion and the state. Leave people free to keep their own money and provide for their own healthcare.

The United States once had the greatest healthcare system in the world. Healthcare was reasonably priced in the free market and physicians loved their profession. Not anymore. Healthcare costs have soared out of control and doctors are retiring early, now hating what they do in life. The reason? Socialism and interventionism, in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, licensure, and regulation.

As we have seen in other areas of government domination — immigration, the drug war, public schooling, etc. — a government intervention never resolves the crisis that precipitated it. Instead, it only makes things worse than before. When things get worse, the statists inevitably call for a new intervention intended to fix the crisis. The situation only gets worse, which precipitates calls for new interventions. That’s precisely what has happened in immigration, the drug war, public schooling, and healthcare.

Despite the manifest failure of socialism and interventionism all over the world, American statists just won’t let go. Like their statist counterparts around the world (e.g., in Greece, Italy, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, China, etc.), they cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that their beloved socialist and interventionist paradigm has failed.

But as things continue to deteriorate, more and more people are discovering that we libertarians have been right about this from the beginning: It was a horrible, immoral mistake for America to have adopted Medicare, Medicaid, licensure, and regulation.

Instead, America should have continued down the road to free markets, private property, and limited government, a road that continued to encompass a free market healthcare system.

That is still the right road — the road to recovery — the road to a healthy, prosperous, peaceful, and free society.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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