As former US Senator John Sununu notes in the April 27, 2009 Wall Street Journal, this would allow a bare miniumum of senators to impose "National Health Care With 51 Votes".
Part of the Congress' apparent urgency on this issue is that they may believe that momentum is slipping away from them unless they strike quickly. The Tea Party protests have galvanized many Americans against further government takeovers of the economy. And David Catron notes that public support is shrinking for "universal health care".
And as we've noted, most Americans are pretty happy with their current health care. But they are legitimately concerned about rising costs. And they've also been led (or misled) to believe that everyone else is having problems (thus justifying more government intervention).
All of these signs indicate that free market reforms might receive a fair hearing -- if Congress decides that it wants to take a deep breath, not rush headlong into creating any new massive government programs, and have a open honest discussion about the kinds of reforms we actually need to correct our current problems.
Americans have already been burnt by the Congressional rush to pass the "stimulus" bill -- which many legislators now acknowledge that they didn't even read before voting for it. Congress should not make the same mistake by rushing to pass "universal health care" legislation.
Our friend Hannah Krenning and my wife Diana Hsieh have sent the following letters to our Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall:
Dear Senators Bennet and Udall,(Disclaimer: FIRM is non-partisan and does not support either the Democratic or Republican parties. FIRM does support free market health care reforms.)
I have read the recent Reuters article and want to register my vehement objection to this underhanded approach to the debate on health care. I do not want government involvement in my health care decisions. I want a free-market approach to medicine.
Creating new government tentacles to surround my physical well-being and doing so in a way that "rams" it through (Reuters words, not mine) betrays the unprecedented power-lust present in Washington these days. Your participation in this "deal" would be a gross betrayal of your constituents and the Constitution. I hope you will find the conscience and backbone to resist participation.
I am writing to express my dismay over the prospect that some kind of socialized medicine (like mandatory, universal coverage insurance) will be imposed on America by "fast-tracking" health care reform. It is grossly irresponsible for the legislature to take such drastic action without proper debate and discussion. We've already seen too many frantic attempts to do something quick -- anything, no matter how irresponsible -- over the past few months. It's time for the legislature to slow down -- preferably before you grind the economy to a halt.
You might have won an election, but you have no right to dispose of anyone else's life, health, and wealth. For you to attempt to ram socialized medicine down our throats -- without so much as offering Americans the chance to form and express their opinions on the matter -- is morally wrong. It's also a sign that your position is weak -- that you cannot persuade Americans of the merits of your views by any rational appeal to facts. Indeed, you have reason to worry: socialized medicine in any form is always disaster.
I do not want any government involvement in my health care. I do not wish my life and health to be subject to the whims of government bureaucrats. I support the elimination of the whole horrid web of entitlements and controls that are strangling medicine while driving up costs. The free market has not failed: your government controls have failed. Repeal them -- and restore the doctor-patient relationship to its properly private sphere.