How You Can Help Return the ‘Gift’ of Health Reform to the US CongressWritten by Douglas Gerard
On Christmas Eve 2009 the U.S. Senate gave Americans the “gift” of health care reform. Not even the lime green sweater Aunt Tilly sent last Christmas was as revolting. Since then, Americans from all backgrounds have been looking for the receipt so they can return the proposed health care reform. Wyoming is fortunate to already have the receipt in the form of the Health Freedom Act being sponsored by Senator John Hines.
The Wyoming Health Freedom Act is an amendment to the Wyoming constitution that keeps you in charge of your health care. It prevents the government from imposing any fines, penalties or taxes for choosing the type of health care or health insurance you want. It remains neutral on the legality of controversial issues such as assisted suicide, medical marijuana and abortion. The Health Freedom Act clearly and unequivocally preserves the right of Wyomingites to make health care decisions for themselves.
Everyone wants health care reform. We all want costs reduced, better care, and to provide for those who are least advantaged. The question is; do you trust in the time honored American tradition of individual liberty, or do you impose a solution designed by a panel of “experts” who act in the interest of society regardless of your best interest?
In Wyoming personal liberty has always been of paramount importance. In terms of health care reform our personal liberty must be respected. No matter how "necessary" some may deem it; it never, ever, makes sense to take rights away from one citizen to confer the guise of safety to another.
Unfortunately this is precisely the “gift” the U.S. Senate gave us on Christmas Eve. There will soon be law limiting your right to make health and health care choices. Your individual liberty will be confiscated by government mandate, enforcement of the dictates of a government panel of "experts" and the choice of unelected bureaucrats.
The new health care reform puts many unelected bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions you currently have the right to make. For example, one of the unelected boards will be able to determine what treatments will be covered by the government approved insurance plans.
Imagine yourself running a small ranching operation. It is early on in calving when you have a tussle with an overprotective cow and she badly hurts your knee. You and your doctor both know that with a good brace and some pain medication you can get back to work and get you through calving, leaving the required surgery and required eight weeks of rehabilitation therapy until things slow down. Unfortunately an unelected board of “experts” has decided that the surgery and rehabilitation you need will only be paid for if the surgery is performed at time of injury. What do you do? If you take the knee brace and pain medication, unfortunately “they” would have you fork over thousands of dollars for the surgery on your own later on. If you take the immediate surgery, can your ranch survive?
This is why the cornerstone of health care reform must be the protection and preservation of the rights of people to make their own health care choices. Without that protection, lobbyists, bureaucrats and politicians will create rules and regulations that make it harder and more difficult to get any health care without the approval and authorization of the government and special interests. Wyoming's Health Freedom Act safeguards the personal liberty of every Wyomingite by preventing government control of health care decisions.
The Health Freedom Act has a few hurdles to clear before it reaches the ballot in 2010. It is a budget year, so two-thirds of one house of the legislature must vote to agree to hear the amendment as it isn’t a financial item. The good news is you can help return the “gift” of health care reform, by calling, writing or having a cup of coffee with your state representatives and senators. Don’t assume your neighbors will call. Each legislator needs to hear from as many constituents supporting this bill as possible before the legislative session begins in February.
Like Aunt Tilly, the U.S. Congress won’t be too happy when the people of Wyoming return their “gift.” However, unlike Aunt Tilly, they should have known better.
Douglas Gerard is the Executive Director of Wyoming’s Future, a grassroots advocacy group in Gillette, promoting the Health Freedom Act on the web at www.WyomingHealthFreedom.org.