January 8 , 2010
The nation is watching as Scott Brown and Martha Coakley compete this Tuesday in a special election for the senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts. While Brown opposes the current health care legislation, Coakley supports it so this special election will potentially determine whether Democrats will have the 60th vote needed to pass the Senate health care bill. Interestingly, Democratic candidate Coakley is the one who has the support of health care lobbyists, to the extent that they recently hosted an impressive gala fundraiser for her benefit.
The health care lobbyists support of Ms. Coakley, and their promotion of Obamacare in the face of overwhelming public opposition, reminds us of the words of the French philosopher and statesman Frederic Bastiat. Bastiat, a classical proponent of free markets and individual liberty, identified two fatal dispositions of mankind: stupid greed and false philanthropy.
Obamacare is riddled with false philanthropy, amounting to little more than a political power grab under the guise of helping people.
Stupid greed is on display when we see lobbyists for Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Novartis, as well as UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Humana unscrupulously vying to take part in the lawful plunder of the persons, liberty, and property of the citizens of the United States. More government control of health care markets would, in the short term, be a boon to those companies who would rather avoid the gauntlet of competing in free markets. Better to have legislation that mandates a steady stream of highly regulated business than to endure the painful, hard work of competing for customers in an intensely competitive, deregulated market. But there are no safe paths, and we predict that the stupid greed on display by these big players in health care will prove to be ruinously short-sighted.