If Medicare for All should ever become reality, America would face a far greater cost than the multi-trillion dollar price tag. This government controlled, single-payer health care system would come at the expense of Constitutional rights that are supposed to be preserved, protected, and defended. This should come as no surprise where health care is concerned.
The current multitude of health care rules and regulations have essentially buried the prohibition against federal interference in the practice of medicine (42 USC 1395). Therefore, it is no wonder that lawmakers are considering socialized medicine as a supposedly viable solution to our health care coverage challenges. However, in exchange for that universal coverage, with private health insurance practically eliminated, Medicare for All legislation overlooks the conscience rights of medical professionals in the effort to prohibit patient discrimination.
The legislation extends the basis of discrimination to include gender identity, sexual stereotyping, sexual orientation, and pregnancy and related medical conditions (including termination of pregnancy). In other words, medical professionals would face the prospect of having to perform abortions or gender-altering procedures that violate their religious beliefs concerning the sanctity of human life. Otherwise, they could face punitive government action for not providing those services.
This lack of protection neglects our U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment which says, in part, Congress shall make no law prohibiting the freedom of religion. That freedom allows people to live by their religious faith, which guides their conscience on a daily basis at home and in the workplace. According to the Justice Department, “individuals and organizations do not give up their religious-liberty protections by providing or receiving social services, education, or healthcare; by seeking to earn or earning a living;…or by interacting with federal, state or local governments.”
However, without a conscience rights provision, Medicare for All’s legislation does not appear to restrict the government’s attempts to dictate the beliefs of religious people and organizations to achieve its health care coverage goals. Restrictions on federal funding for abortion also would not apply. While current legislation does allow providers to opt out of the public program and enter into private contracts with patients, that option likely would not be financially viable for either party.
The price tag to implement the single payer health care system also is not financially viable. That alone should incentivize lawmakers to consider recommendations by organizations such as the Christ Medicus Foundation and the Galen Institute. State-based innovations, greater competition among private insurance options, and empowering consumers with more choices such as faith-based health care cost-sharing ministries can lead to better health care coverage at affordable rates.
Unless our elected officials give greater consideration to these alternatives, legislative efforts will continue to chip away at our rights, freedoms, and protections—in the name of health care coverage. The consequence: greater government control of our daily living. We could find ourselves dependent on a government and a health care system that dictate rather than serve.