I have heard repeated over and over how “Obama-care” is going to take away your “freedoms” because the government is going to be making all your decisions for you. Maybe we should leave that to insurance companies? If Obamacare goes away I am sure they won’t deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition or refuse to cover you at all. Insurance companies aren’t the government. You can trust them, right?
What everybody is in a tizzy about is the “mandate” part of Obama’s health care which actually was a conservative idea to avoid the single-payer system (like Medicare) they so hate. Obamacare went out of its way to preserve the private health insurance system, which means there still is an insurance company (or a middle man) between you and your doctor taking a cut of the action. Theoretically, insurance should be cheaper if everyone has insurance – the old, the young, the sick, and the healthy all together.
But what about that mandate that forces me to get health insurance! A mandate! Ouch. That’s not fair! Isn’t that sort of like a law? Let’s see. We are mandated to buy liability insurance if we want to drive our car. We have to wear a seat belt and can’t drive over the speed limit. If we have small children, they have to have a safety seat. My car had to pass a smog test. So many mandates and I haven’t even gotten out of the driveway! I can’t even text while I’m driving!
It’s true that if I can’t afford it the government will help me buy health insurance. There’s that government word again. Isn’t it trying to take my freedom away? You know – the FBI, IRS, Homeland Security, Coast Guard, Park Service, DMV, Social Security Administration, Postal Serv-ice, and Highway Patrol? How about the county clerk who deals with “fictitious” names all day long? That sounds very suspicious to me.
Now this mandate is in the hands of the Supreme Court – a bunch of guys comparing mandating health care to eating broccoli, burying bodies and using cell phones. They just allowed strip searching a person for any kind of an arrest. Tell me again why they get to sit on that bench for the rest of their life? How about giving them a nice solid 12 years and they’re out of there.
If a government mandate takes away my freedom, what exactly is freedom?
In my office I have a picture of Norman Rockwell’s the Four Freedoms. Painted in 1943 during World War II and inspired by Franklin Roosevelt’s State of the Union Address in 1941, they are as follows: Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want, and Freedom of Speech. I figure that is a good place to start if you’re talking about freedom.
Freedom of worship requires that the government keep a separation of church and state. Before our country was founded, many people had to join their state religion or be ostracized or worse. I don’t want someone’s religion forced down my throat by religious people or the government. There is a country where there is no separation. It’s called Iran.
Freedom from fear is the most complicated and really incorporates all of the freedoms. Can you be who you are without fear of repression or harm? Can you pay the mortgage? Will you lose your job? Can you afford to wait to have that lump on your breast checked even though you have no insurance? How will you pay for it?
Freedom from want is having food on the table and a roof over your head. More and more we are seeing homeless people wandering around. Some of them are disabled or mentally ill. Ask any food bank in the last few years and they will tell you that demand has skyrocketed. The other freedoms don’t mean much to someone who is hungry and cold.
Freedom of speech is still alive and well in most cases. Freedom of speech allows people to distort and lie as well as shine light on the truth.
Freedom is always balanced by security. One givith and one taketh away. Where do you draw the line? The “war on drugs” and the “war on terrorism” have taken away more freedoms than any health care mandate ever could. Obamacare isn’t perfect and needs to focus more on containing costs but it seems helping 30 million people to have health care gives them more freedom – especially freedom from fear. Losing health care feels like the opposite of freedom.