Steven Lipstein is president of BJC Hospitals. He is part of well-funded, national campaign to deny Missourians the right to NOT purchase something they don’t want.
In a preposterous letter to his employees, Lipstein attempts to argue that human beings have no right to say “no” to health insurance. As self-anointed overlord of our spending, Lipstein questions the very foundations of America’s guiding philosophy when he writes:
Can a citizen decide not to buy health care services, and with that decision, not be required to buy health insurance? The answer is not as straightforward.
Really, Steven? Because you sell medicine, you deny me the right not to buy it?
He goes on:
So, is an individual’s choice not to purchase health insurance an issue of "freedom"?
When educated men start to believe that human beings have no right to NOT buy something, despotism lives.
John Dickinson of Pennsylvania explained rights 240 years ago:
Kings or parliaments could not give the rights essential to happiness . . . They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals. They are created in us by the decrees of Providence, which established laws of our nature. They are born with us; exist within us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives. In short, they are founded on the immutable maxims of reason and justice.
Dickinson perfectly stated the basic belief of the United States. But let’s look quickly at the consequences of Dickinson’s words.
If our rights are inherent in our nature as human beings, then they exist independently of any government, any industry, any technology, or any invention. Adam and Eve after the fall had precisely the same rights as a child born in Barnes Hospital as I type. Rights cannot be added or subtracted by humans.
If man does not, in 2010, have the right to not own insurance, he never had the right not to own insurance. Again, rights cannot be added or subtracted.
Nor can healthcare be a right. No one can be compel someone else to become a physician. If we are free to choose to be doctors are not, are we not free to choose to visit a doctor or not? If we are free to be an insurance agent or not, are we not free to not buy an insurance agent’s services?
Lipstein makes an argument that we lost our right to not buy insurance because of a law that requires hospitals to render emergency treatment to anyone. This argument is already invalid since neither Lipstein nor the government has the power to eliminate a right. But his argument is economically invalid, as well.
Barnes will treat the same number of emergency cases regardless of compulsory insurance because they are compelled to do so. Further, those who cannot afford insurance today will not be able to afford insurance under the new law. Instead, those who can afford insurance today will pay for the insurance of the indigent. Nothing changes. Except that Lipstein and his authoritarian friends in Washington will gain the power to tell you what you may or may not buy with your money.
In the end, his motives are obvious. Mr. Lipstein would like to use the power of government to force us to buy what he sells. Well, I ain’t buyin’ it, and neither is John Dickinson, Thomas Jefferson, or the majority of Americans.
If you believe that governments cannot create or destroy rights, then you must vote Yes on Proposition C.