A post today by Michelle Malkin brings to light an interesting provision of Obamacare which will apparently target funding at racial minorities. As she details with a good deal of clarity, this would seem to be an invitation for generating illegal racial preferences in healthcare. While this, itself, is not a violation of the Civil Rights Act (which Congress may modify or ignore at will), it may present a legal conundrum within the world of medicine. It also reminded me of concerns that I expressed privately months ago about healthcare being used as a vehicle for political preferences; concerns which are now certainly credible enough to be worth active discussion.
While I do not recall when it first occurred to me, I have been concerned since sometime last summer about the possibility that the healthcare bill would eventually be used as a tool to leverage votes for Democrats. The basic scenario works as follows: When healthcare rationing inevitably begins, funds will be directed preferentially toward states, counties, and cities which routinely vote Democrat. The more insidious scenario looks a little bit different: Medical records will be paired, secretly or explicitly, with rolls of party affiliation, campaign contributions, and political activism, and those individuals who support Democrat candidates and policies will receive care more quickly and completely than individuals who are opposed. However unlikely those scenarios seem, neither one is impossible, and the first appears to be already happening.
Regardless of which scenario ultimately plays out, the result is that voters will be placed into a voting system built from a framework of oppression. While politicians are well known to offer money to favored constituencies, this becomes the first time in America’s history that politicians can literally begin to equate votes to matters of life and death. Most voters would not find it a difficult choice to select between supporting some policy that they don’t like, or a politician that they would otherwise oppose, when the alternative is that they will not be able to receive a life saving cancer treatment in time.
No neutral observer could call trading votes for life anything other than false liberty.
Strangely, though, this potential avenue for abuse has been almost entirely absent from the debate over health care. Throughout the entire debate, I can only recall having seen the question show up once, in a survey published by the RNC asking if voters were concerned “that the government could use voter registration to determine a person’s political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system.” My vote, of course, would have been (and is) quite affirmative, especially as the full blown public option was still alive and well as a possibility in August when that survey was published. The flash of furor, though, was apparently strong enough that the impotent GOP backpedaled, said that the question was “inartfully worded,” and tried to re-frame it as being about privacy rather than political gamesmanship. With the GOP’s apology issued, the issue promptly disappeared from the debate.
But as we are already beginning to see, the GOP was right the first time. Trading healthcare for votes is a serious issue about which Americans need to seriously engage. Even liberals, who may think they’re safe with Obama in charge, should be scared of the potential for abuse. Imagine, after all, if George W. Bush had been in charge of making your medical decisions; imagine the future of medicine under President Karl Rove. Tying political support to medical treatment is far more dangerous than the financial quid pro quo that Americans have, unfortunately, gotten used to.
Perhaps Michelle discovering this first attempt will finally shed some light on a looming problem that should have been discussed months ago.