California’s AB 1400 failure is a victory for freedom and health care

“Most of the evil in the world is done by good people,” the libertarian wrote Isabelle Paterson, “and not by accident, error or omission. It is the result of their deliberate, long-persevering actions, which they see as motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.

It’s an excerpt from Paterson’s 1943 book, “The Machine God.” This is the beginning of the chapter entitled “The humanitarian with the guillotine”.

Paterson walks the reader through the thought process and method that leads the right people, acting on a wrong premise, to support policies that lead the world to “times when millions are slaughtered, when torture is practiced , imposed starvation, oppression becomes a policy, as it is now in much of the world, and as has often been the case in the past.

She identifies this motive in “humanitarian” thought: “The humanitarian wishes to be a driving force in the lives of others. He can admit neither the divine order nor the natural order, by which men have the power to help themselves.

The humanitarian quickly comes up against the problem that “the competent do not need its help” and that the majority of people “do not want to be ‘done’ by the humanitarian”.


This is what happened in the California Assembly Last week. Progressive activists who were determined to impose single-payer health care for the entire population of the state and who had worked hard for years to elect enough progressive lawmakers to have a supermajority and unvetoed control of the Legislative Assembly, watched in horror and disbelief as Assembly Bill 1400 was pulled from the floor without a vote on the last day it was eligible for consideration this year.

AB 1400 would have abolished private health insurance and Medicare in California. It would have put everyone on the same health care plan, run by the state and paid for by a massive increase in business and income taxes.

The author of AB 1400, Member of the Assembly Ash KalraD-San Josewas excoriated by the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucuswhich had threatened Democratic lawmakers that they would lose the party’s endorsement — and accompanying campaign money — if they vote against the bill.

But Kalra said the bill was “double digits” short of the 41 votes needed to pass. “I don’t believe it would have served the cause of having a single payer

done by staging the vote and causing it to ignite and further alienate members,” he told supporters in a Zoom call later that day.

The question that needs to be answered, before the state and country waste more time on this proposal, is: why was it going to collapse?

The answer was identified by Isabelle Paterson. The “humanitarian plan is unrealizable,” she wrote. “The objective is to do good to others as the primary justification for existence; the means is the power of the collective; and the premise is that the “good” is collective. »

But when “the goal is to benefit others as the primary justification for existence,” what exactly is everyone supposed to do? “Will A do what he thinks is good for B, and will B do what he thinks is good for A? Or will A only accept what it thinks is good for B, and vice versa? But that’s absurd. Of course, what the humanitarian is really proposing is to do what they think is good for everyone. This is when the humanitarian set up the guillotine.

In a single-payer health care system, the first “guillotine” is the government’s reduction of payments to health care providers. We already see it in Medicalwhere reimbursements are so low that many doctors limit the number of Medical patients they will see or refuse to accept Medical patient at all. The low reimbursement rate camouflages the true cost of the program, which is passed on to others through higher costs or longer waits for care.

The second “guillotine” is the government’s cut in the services available, in general or for specific categories of patients. While not exactly ‘death panels’, government appointed board members will decide the standard of care, and since the government is the ‘single payer’ it is everything you can get, wherever you go, anywhere in the state. . We have seen in the COVID-19 pandemic the precise mechanism by which government “guidance” controls what doctors can do for their patients. Some treatments are authorized and others are prohibited. But how are these decisions made? Look for “regulatory capture” sometimes, maybe a rainy night when you’re in the mood for a horror story.

Progressives like to make loud claims on the campaign trail that “health care is a human right,” but that’s not true. Health care is a service, and it has to be provided by someone. There can be no “right” to anything that must be provided by someone else. How many people will choose to go to medical school if their career decisions and income are completely controlled by the government?

Our society wants and will always have a safety net to support people who cannot support themselves. But other people have to pay to provide these goods and services, and what these people need is the freedom to work and keep most of the fruits of their labor. They don’t need and shouldn’t vote for humanitarians with guillotines.

Susan Shelley is a member of the editorial board of the Southern California News Group. You can write to him at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @Susan_Shelley.

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