Cal  Thomas

One of the reasons our political structure has become dysfunctional no matter which party is in power is that too many of us are living in the moment. The closest we get to history is the instant replay.

It is as if there is nothing the past can teach us; no wisdom that might be culled from those who have gone before. We buy guidebooks, or go online for information about countries or cities we plan to visit, trusting those who have been there to tell us the best places to stay, see and eat. When it comes to more momentous things, like health care, too many people believe government does best, regardless of historical and even contemporary evidence to the contrary.

The well-known quote "That government is best which governs least," often attributed to Henry David Thoreau, has been supplanted in our day by the notion that government is my keeper, I shall not want.

All of the promises about health care "reform" are proving dubious at best. The move from insurance exchanges to single payer to the eventual takeover of the health care industry will happen incrementally, but inevitably, unless Republicans win back control of government and have the courage to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better.

What should awaken apathetic Americans is a story in last week's The New York Times headlined "Cost of Treatment May Influence Doctors." The story said some of the country's largest medical groups are now suggesting that physicians consider cost when treating patients. The Times says a subtle shift is taking place within medicine as "doctors are starting to redefine their roles, from being concerned exclusively about individual patients to exerting influence on how health care dollars are spent."

In other words, are you "worth" being treated for cancer or other illnesses that can cost a lot of money? When government pressures health care providers to accept a utilitarian view of human life, it is a short step to government deciding whose life is worth living and whose is not.

When the dollar becomes almighty, the Almighty who creates life takes a back seat.

Promises that the misnamed Affordable Care Act would reduce costs are already being proved wrong. Health care spending is surging, according to another New York Times story. President Obama promised it would decline. We heard similar promises 50 years ago when Medicare was introduced. Politicians then promised costs would never exceed a certain level, which they did in very short order.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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