08 November 2013

Government and Charity

Sub Tuum.

As Obamacare has taken effect, the debate over health care in America has continued to heat up. On one hand, there is, independent of the government, the legitimate Christian concern over those who cannot afford health care. The Church has never been content to say that only those with a large enough pocketbook or the right kind of job that provides health insurance "deserve" medical treatment. Rather, it is a basic Christian principle to help those in need without first checking to see if they have a health insurance card. 

Also at hand is the issue of skyrocketing health care costs in America. The same treatment is available in other countries, for example, by American-trained doctors with top-rate equipment for far less money than Americans have to pay. Various theories as to why these costs have been increasing abound. Health care is certainly one area in which capitalist interests should not be the primary concern. 

Now Obamacare (or the "Affordable Care Act," as it is officially called) has arrived on the scene. One of the first things many people noticed is that their health care has not become more affordable. Many people observed their premiums actually going up for the upcoming year. Insurance companies state that this is necessary to comply with the new laws. As they are now no longer able to turn away those with certain pre-existing conditions, they have raised premiums to insure that they (the insurance companies) do not lose money. On top of this, Americans no longer have the basic commercial right "not to buy." Those who do not purchase insurance will be fined with what has been officially determined to be a tax. In the case of government requirements to have auto insurance if you drive, you have a choice whether or not to purchase an automobile and whether to drive on public roads. In the case of health insurance, there is no option. One is forced to purchase insurance or pay a tax simply for being alive. Living is a fundamental right, and now the government has found a way to tax that. 

At the heart of this debate are two issues. The first is whether or not the government knows better than an individual about that individual's health. In pure socialized medicine, like any other socialist system, the government is supreme and the individual has no self worth. The government-imposed system determines what the individual "needs" based on the perceived needs of society. There is no respect accorded to the sanctity of each and every human life. Obamacare has yet to show that it is going to be anything other than socialized medicine, reducing the dignity of human beings to mere drones of the state. 

The second issue at the heart of the debate is the issue of private wealth. With higher premiums for many of those currently insured and with the requirement for the uninsured to purchase health insurance or pay a tax, we have what can easily amount to a tremendous transfer of wealth from a large segment of the population. To whom is this wealth transferred? To major corporations, to the government, or both. Now, there is nothing wrong with corporations or the government as long as they fulfill the requirement that we all have to do what they do with a mind to the common good. Obamacare, however, looks to be yet another mechanism to reduce the wealth of many people and concentrate that wealth in the hands of a few private individuals and the government. That may seem to be an extreme scenario, but it is one that has been played and replayed many times. The destruction of private wealth, with wealth then being vested in a few individuals and the government, gives the potential for unlimited control over the vast populace by those few individuals and the government. In all but a truly benevolent, Christian-oriented government, exploitation and tyranny are the inevitable outcome. What else could be expected if the government views the people as mere tools to be used by the state? 

This process is not one that takes place instantly. The intelligent revolutionaries plan their actions over time, introducing new policies and procedures ever-so-slightly so that there is either no resistance, or there is a manageable level of resistance. Over time, people acclimate. New generations grow up with indoctrination, and thus are immune to the admonitions of their parents and their elders, dismissing them as old fashioned and outdated. This was the means used by the Nazis and the communists. It was highly effective. It is still highly effective. 

The fact is that most people are followers and susceptible to manipulation, even in "individualistic America." It is right to submit to just authority. Leaders have a tremendous responsibility to lead those in their charge in the way of right and truth. When leaders fail in that responsibility, their authority is no longer just.