Thomas Sowell

Amid all the controversies over medical care, no one seems to be asking a very basic question: Why does it take more than 1,000 pages of legislation to insure people who lack medical insurance?

Despite incessant repetition of the fact that millions of Americans do not have medical insurance, hardy souls who have actually read the mammoth medical care legislation being rushed through Congress have discovered all sorts of things there that have nothing whatever to do with insuring the uninsured-- and everything to do with taking medical decisions out of the hands of doctors and their patients, and transferring those decisions to Washington bureaucrats.

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That's called "bait and switch" when an unscrupulous business advertises one thing and tries to sell you something else. When politicians do it, it is far more dangerous to far more people.

Deception is not an incidental aspect of this medical care legislation, but is at the very heart of it.

That such a massive change of the entire medical care system, from top to bottom, was attempted to be rushed through Congress before the August recess-- before anybody in or out of Congress had time to read it all-- should have told us from the outset that we were being played for fools.

Despite President Obama's statements that he is not advocating a "single payer" system for medical care-- which is to say, a government monopoly of power over life and death decisions-- just a few years ago, he was telling a union audience that he was in favor of a "single payer" system. At that time, he pointed out that it was unlikely that such a system could be put in place all at once, that it might take a number of years to advance, step by step, to that goal.

In other words, Barack Obama fully understood the "entering wedge" political strategy that has allowed so many government programs to start off small, and apparently innocuous-- and then grow to gigantic size and scope over the years.

If telling us that he is not for a single payer system will soothe us into going along, then it is perfectly understandable why he said it. But that is no reason for us to believe him.

As for those uninsured Americans who are supposedly the reason for all this sound and fury, there is remarkably little interest in why they are uninsured, despite the incessant repetition of the fact that they are.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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