American Elephants

What Is Social Justice Anyway? by The Elephant's Child

ObamaCare, said Nancy Pelosi, “is about life, a healthier life, liberty, the freedom to pursue our happiness. It’s s very, very exciting thing. And it’s about wellness and prevention. It’s about the health of America, not just the health care for Americans.” “It’s going to be a glorious thing.” Forgive me, but this is complete nonsense. ObamaCare is insurance, about paying for medical care. It is, on average 41% more expensive than the policies people had. It is about government dictating what care people may have and what care is too expensive, sorry.

ObamaCare is about redistribution of wealth and “social justice.” Redistribution of wealth is clear enough. You make those who have pay more to cover the have-nots. The left has been quite sure that millions of poor Americans have been deprived of the health care that meant the difference between health and sickness, and ObamaCare is going to fix that.

This ignores the fact that by law, no emergency room in America can turn away a patient — whether they can pay or not. Hospitals will try to get paid, but they write off a lot of care. And oddly enough, all those uninsured Americans have not been flocking to the website to sign up. A large percentage of the people who do not have insurance don’t have it because they don’t want it for whatever reason. Obamacare proponents are admitting that once the program is in full force, there will probably be just as many uninsured as there were in the first place.

The Left loves the term “Social Justice,” which means many different things to different people but it is obviously “nice.” Does the term have any concrete meaning, or is it just a buzz word? Certainly it suggests that there must be some social injustice. If we agree that there is some injustice, what makes it social? For its proponents.”social justice” is usually undefined. It has been manipulated by “progressive” thinkers to mean  uniform state distribution of society’s advantages and disadvantages. If people are to live free of state control, they must possess the virtue of cooperation and association.

Do we mean equal distribution of stuff? For most of us social justice implies, among other things, equality of the burdens, the advantages and the opportunities of citizenship. Social justice seems to be closely related to the concept of “equality”— fairness, equity or the equitable. From the American Sociological Review:

As I see it, social justice requires resource equity, fairness, and respect for diversity, as well as the eradication of existing forms of social oppression. Social justice entails a “redistribution” of resources from those who have “unjustly” gained them to those who justly deserve them, and it also means creating and “ensuring” the processes of truly democratic participation in decision-making…. It seems clear that only a “decisive” redistribution of resources and decision-making power can “ensure” social justice and authentic democracy.

So common good becomes the excuse for total state control. That’s how totalitarianism was built. So much for individual liberty.

Equality sounds good, but just what is meant by equality? It seems to be a catch-all justification for any number of programs that operate in a contradictory and not particularly coherent way. The Founders considered the matter and came up with a definition that has served us pretty well for 237 years:

WE hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of those Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…

Instead of trying to define the undefinable “Social Justice” or “Equality,” perhaps we should devote some effort to thinking about and defining “the Pursuit of Happiness.”

I don’t think Equality and Social Justice can be defined, nor were they meant to be defined. They are “good” words to be used on the campaign trail and to make people feel that they are the victims of injustice. But life isn’t about getting happiness — it is about the pursuit. You take the assets or lack of assets you were born with and see what you can make of them with your own efforts. That’s where happiness lies, not in what a government can give you from other people’s money.

Food for thought:

From the Library of Law and Liberty: “What is Social Justice?“by Samuel Gregg
From the Heritage Foundation: “Social Justice; Not What You Think it Is” by Michael Novak
From Thomas Sowell: “The Quest for Cosmic Justice

The Federal Government Will Dictate to Doctors How They Treat Patients. by The Elephant's Child
January 1, 2014, 6:10 pm
Filed under: Politics

The Lie of the Year for 2013, was President Obama’s often repeated claim “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.” So far over six million people waving their canceled plans have put the lie to that statement. In 2014, those who get their insurance through their employers will be getting their canceled plans, except for some of those who work for companies who self-insure. The president’s sales pitches are in line with those more familiar from used-car salesmen.

Obama’s claim was “You’re not going to have anybody getting in between  you and your doctor in your decision-making.” This biggest whopper of all is tucked deep inside the law.

Section 1311(h)(1)(B) of the Affordable Care Act gives the secretary of Health and Human Services, a presidential appointee, blanket authority to dictate how doctors treat patients. All patients. Not just those in government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but also patients in private plans that they pay for themselves.

The Federal Register disclosed on December 2, that the rules are in process of being written. Starting in 2015, insurance companies will be barred from doing business with doctors who fail to comply. The rules supposedly refer to “quality” but once health care becomes a federal matter, the most important issue will be cost.

President Obama’s earliest advisers when the Affordable Care Act was written were great admirers of Britain’s National Health Service. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a key adviser, early on discussed what government intervention was needed.

Dr.Emanuel said doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously “as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others.” As long as doctors are in charge, cost control would not be possible. Betsy McCaughey spells it out:

“Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality of care are merely ‘lipstick’ cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change.”

Emanuel advocated top-down federal rules to allocate resources based on what he called “social justice.”

Obama’s nominee to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Dr. Donald Berwick, also insisted that the federal government must step in between doctors and their patients to curb and redistribute the use of medical resources.

Berwick said resources should be allocated based on “important subgroups.” These groups, rather than the individual patient in the doctor’s office, should be the “unit of concern,” he said. Obama’s advisers would have these considerations override your doctor’s focus on your needs.

Eighty years old and you fall and break a hip — plan on pain pills. Early on, this bunch was talking about “life years” and the usefulness of a 20 year-old who had a lifetime of valuable work years ahead of him, compared with elderly people needing kidney dialysis or expensive operations. Even Obama, in one of his rare candid moments, spoke of old people getting along on pain pills. This bunch of advisers apparently do understand that ObamaCare is going to cost, as most government programs do, far, far more than original estimates. You can’t develop a program with unlimited, but unnecessary, goodies to attract potential voters — like free contraceptives — and not understand that people will generously use, and overuse, all available benefits, and the cost of the program will skyrocket. It is inevitable.

Unfortunately the unfamiliarity on the part of the left with economics and incentives to direct the actions of free people leave them with no options but the heavy hand of government to direct efforts, and that, of course leaves them with no options but bigger and more authoritarian government. Nasty downward spiral, unnecessary deaths, a bankrupt program and more harm for the people. But “social justice” must be served, mustn’t it? What do you do with those who believe that “more control” is the answer to every problem?

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