Mitt Romney has been accused by Obama supporters of murdering a woman by “taking away” her health insurance. They’re counting, of course, on nobody asking any critical questions such as, “What does taking away actually mean?”
You cannot “take away” anything other than through theft (or a physical attack). A health insurance policy is a contract between an insured individual and a second party, the insurance company. In many cases it’s a contract between an employer and an insurance company, on behalf of the employee. There’s actually no way to steal away a contract between two people. In a civil and rational society, the government upholds all legal contracts and requires each party to honor what they freely agreed to when signing the contract. For example, the person purchasing the policy is required to pay the monthly premium, at least if he wants to continue being covered by it. And the company promising to insure the person is obliged to keep its end of the bargain, as stated in the contract, as well.
So how do we get from this to charges of murder? Essentially, the Obama supporters are claiming that health care is a right, and anyone who suggests otherwise — especially anyone making a political argument, or running for office like Romney — is a murderer. This is a fallacious accusation on so many levels it’s almost hard to reply to it. The only way to reply to it is by stating the obvious, as I just did above. But you have to understand: Advocates of Obamacare — and of socialism, more generally — are not trying to convince anyone. Their whole argument is based on force. Politically, they favor government coercion to enforce their beliefs. Ethically, they make arguments that they hope will frighten people into not saying anything at all. They don’t have reason or justice on their side, and they appear to know it, so in a psychological sense this tactic makes sense. “I have no proof, so I must guilt and frighten people into accepting what I demand to be the truth.”
What’s even more disturbing about the whole affair is the way a Romney aide reportedly responded to this attack. Such an attack is an opportunity for the Romney campaign to say, “You murder someone by killing them. You don’t murder someone by refusing to buy them health insurance. Ultimately, this is our own responsibility in a free society, to provide for our medical care and purchase policies in a free market.”
Presumably, Mitt Romney believes this. Otherwise, why is there any point to repealing Obamacare? What else could he mean when he says he supports a “free market” for medicine over Obamacare?
Of course, Mitt Romney is the same man who, as Governor of Massachusetts, endorsed and signed into law the state-level equivalent of Obamacare a few years back. If he supported that law back then, based on the premise that health care is a right, then how can he oppose Obamacare now?
On this issue, the Obama supporters have got Romney, and they know it. It’s not because they’re right. They’re actually as wrong as can be in claiming that health care is a right. In order to make health care a right, you have to use government force to STEAL from some to provide coverage to others. You have to consider the people who pay for health care the property of the government, human serfs the government may coerce into paying for the medical care of others. There is no justice in enslaving part of the population for the sake of others (to say nothing of doctors). But in any argument between two parties, the more consistent side will win. The Obama supporters are unflinching in their consistency, i.e. that government exists to force some to provide for others. The Republicans, Romney included, generally have no response other than, “Um, um, um….”
This is just one instance of a wider contradiction with the Romney campaign, undoubtedly the result of Mitt Romney’s own contradictions or evasions. Obama has maintained all along that health care is a right. He says that it’s the moral obligation of those who do have health care, even if they’re paying for it, to be forced by the government to pay for the health care of others. He won’t permit the deregulation of the health care industry and allow for the emergence of a competitive, free market. (To be fair, neither have most Republicans supported such a thing.) He passed into law the “affordable care act” which imposes this very obligation on people. Wrong and immoral? Yes, I say. Uneconomic in the long run as it drives up the cost and drives down the quality of medical care for everyone, just like it did in Soviet Russia, Great Britain, Canada and Cuba? Yes again, I say.
But no matter. It’s consistent. The wrong side can be all wrong, but still consistent. When confronted with an opponent who wobbles on both sides and all around a significant issue, that candidate will lose. In the latest polls, including one released by Fox News, Romney is trailing badly.
Even if Romney manages to win the election, will it matter? Is there any reason to believe Romney will lift a finger to repeal Obamacare as he promises? Or will he, once in office, find an excuse not to do so (as Republicans in the Senate are already providing for him)?
If Mitt Romney wins the election, will it be Governor Romney — who signed Obamacare into law for Massachusetts — who has won? Or will it be the more recent Romney, confronted with the Tea Party and other Republican opponents of Obamacare, who won?
Nobody knows. But at the rate Romney is going, we’ll never have a chance to find out.
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