"I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody," then-candidate Barack Obama famously told Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher when campaigning in Ohio last fall.
At about the same time Obama was revealing this redistributionist vision for wealth, he was also presenting a redistributionist vision for health and health care -- but with far less publicity.
Today, Obama's belief that health itself needs redistributing has become a guiding force behind the health-care reform bills recently approved by committees in the House and Senate.
These bills are saturated with the concept that there is an unjust distribution of health among Americans that can and should be adjusted by government policies.
The supposed endgame is an America where all demographic groups get identical health care and enjoy identical levels of health.
This might have been achievable -- at least temporarily -- in Eden. In our fallen world, it is futile.
Yet, if Congress enacts legislation based on the absurd notion that government policies can equalize health across the U.S. population, it will give politicians and bureaucrats an unbounded rationale for monitoring and controlling every aspect of our lives.
The health-care plan Obama published during his campaign made "health disparities" a priority -- and vowed to hold "accountable" those he believed caused them. "Barack Obama and Joe Biden will tackle the root causes of health disparities by addressing differences in access to health coverage and promoting prevention and public health, both of which play a major role in addressing disparities," said the plan. "They will also challenge the medical system to eliminate inequities in health care by requiring hospitals and health plans to collect, analyze and report health care quality for disparity populations and holding them accountable for any differences found."
Candidate Obama even published a paper promising a strategy to "reduce HIV-related health disparities."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed something similar when she addressed the NAACP this month. "It is a moral issue for our country to reduce health disparities whether in diabetes, asthma, heart disease, cancer and HIV/AIDS," she said. The health-care bill approved last week by the House Ways and Means and Education committees gives the secretary of health and human services unilateral authority to choose demographic groups that will be monitored for determining whether they are victims or beneficiaries of such disparities.
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