Last night, Virginia State Senator Emmett Hanger was the featured speaker at the Harrisonburg Tea Party. He spoke on the subject of Medicaid expansion. Specifically, he argued that Virginia ought to expand the Medicaid program in order to take advantage of the federal dollars available that Virginians already pay.
During the question and answer period that followed, Senator Hanger received considerable criticism from the audience. One person stood up and asked him where in the Constitution is it listed that the federal government has the authority to be involved in health care. Senator Hanger stated that one could not find such a power, but we as a society have evolved in such a way as to expect the government to do such things.
Unfortunately, the attitude displayed by Senator Hanger seems to be fairly commonplace among considerable segments of both society and the Republican Party these days. We ought to make the government efficient as possible (which I can certainly appreciate), and ought to take advantage of every program, but we shouldn’t ask why the government is involved in these facets of life and certainly shouldn’t try to constrain the government by constitutional limitations. Now, to be fair, Senator Hanger did not say these words, but it did seem to be an unspoken theme.
So, do you need healthcare? Don’t worry! The state or feds have you covered. A role that was previously handled by individuals (or for those who could not afford it, churches and charities) for a majority of our nation’s history has been taken over by the government. Little by little, day by day, the government is becoming everything to everyone.
One glaring problem (besides the whole constitutional issue, of course) is that government run programs are rarely efficient. Now that’s not to say that there isn’t a role for government, for I believe that there certainly is, but to have the city, state, or feds in the sphere of private business is a recipe for disaster. One glaring example in Harrisonburg local politics is the city run golf course. Whether you are a citizen of Harrisonburg or not, two questions you should ask are: Should the city run a golf course when there are privately run courses available? And am I happy that the city net spends around half a million dollars of the taxpayers’ money each year to maintain this course?
Despite what Senator Hanger suggested last night, just because I don’t want to see people dying in street doesn’t mean that I believe that the government ought to assume control of healthcare.
Given that I reference the song in the title of this post, let me leave you with Everclear’s “Everything to Everyone”. I think you’ll find many of the lyrics apply to the ever increasing power of government.