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March 6th, 2010 11:15 am
Health Care “Reform” Will Shift America’s Political Center

Anyone watching the British Parliament’s “Question Time” over the years knows that the one issue that will be discussed no matter which party is in power: the National Health Service.  The NHS is adept at socializing medicine but precious little else.  To hear both Tories and Labour MPs tell it, the service is chronically underfunded, and hopelessly incapable of reducing waiting times for patients to see doctors.  It is precisely the kind of rationed health care that American conservatives are warning will be inflicted on United States citizens if Obamacare is passed into law.

But battling Leviathan isn’t the only consequence of nationalizing the health industry.  As the prominence of NHS during “Question Time” shows, nationalization moves a nation’s political center irrevocably to the Left.  Why?  Because putting everyone involved with medicine on a government payroll eliminates private choices for almost all voters, and with it, the ability of markets to provide competition and choices.  Thus, like roads, utilities, and garbage collection, delays in service and controlling costs become problems for politicians – not entrepreneurs – to fix.  And so, even politicians who would otherwise oppose government control are left with arguing how to manage a failed system.

As Mark Steyn notes:

I’ve been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally “conservative” parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect (let’s not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a “conservative”). The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.

This is why President Obama can push repeatedly for Democratic members of Congress to fall on their swords for a dramatically unpopular health care “reform” bill – he knows the power shift in American politics will benefit his ideology in the long run, even if it weakens his party in the short term.

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