The pending nationalization of health care will come at a steep price beyond sclerotic bureaucratization, increased costs, and the stifling of innovation. We will now begin to lose personal freedom in the name of cutting health care costs.
Latest example: Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor, is imposing a $50 per month penalty on all employees who don’t join a “wellness program.” From NBC Chicago’s story:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving city workers an important health choice: enroll in a new wellness plan, expected to be unveiled Friday, or pay a higher premium. The price if they don’t enroll: $50 a month. The program includes an initial screening that focuses on preventative care for asthma, heart disease and diabetes. City employees would then receive wellness training to achieve long-term health goals, including weight loss…”We will help you be a good steward for your health,” Emanuel said Friday, “but if you choose not to, you’ll pay that price and that is the price you’ll have to pay.”
There is nothing wrong with any of those measures–and plenty that is right–so long as they are purely voluntary. Indeed, I would not object if people who signed up for wellness training received a cut in their premiums, co-pays, or some other similar incentive. But coercing people into living the way the powers that be want them to, or pay $600 a year, undercuts freedom. Besides, people may join the program to keep their own money, but that doesn’t mean they will follow the program. These things work best when people want to improve their lifestyles.
Mark my words, this is just the beginning of the coming authoritarian attempt by our want-to-be rulers–as opposed to representatives–to force us to live as they choose. At some point, and I hope it comes soon, this country is going to collectively scream to the self appointed wellness police, “Leave. Us. Alone!”