Pro-Life Group Has Reason for Targeting Universal Health Care, and It's a Killer

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCL) wants to blow up the state's unique system of universal health care coverage.

The organization known for its pro-life/anti-abortion activism is pursuing a question on the 2012 ballot that would ask voters to repeal a key provision of the 2006 universal coverage law: the mandate that all citizens obtain coverage or pay a penalty.

"Repeal Romney Care" is the name MCL has given to its ballot initiative. See

"Currently health care is much more embedded in state law than federal," MCL says on this site. "We cannot just repeal the whole we are repealing the individual mandate, which we feel will be the start of bringing down the whole law."

From a positioning standpoint, it makes sense for MCL to say it's dead set against "RomneyCare" rather than "universal health care." The former sounds like a scheme foisted on the public by a misguided politician, as in the pejorative "ObamaCare," while the latter sounds like a populist's dream come true.

MCL says its opposition is based on the belief that the Massachusetts system has produced unsustainably high costs and that these costs are leading to the rationing of health care.

"When a program runs out of money, or imposes price controls, as Governor Patrick did, rationing occurs," MCL says. "ObamaCare is intentionally designed to cut funding and impose rationing. In Massachusetts, rationing is the unintended consequence of funding with general revenue.

"We are not saying the individual mandate, in and of itself, causes rationing. We are saying that the whole law causes rationing and repealing the individual mandate is the best way to start to repeal the whole law."

MCL notes that Massachusetts has the highest per capita health care costs in the nation. That situation, however, existed long before universal health care coverage came along.

"We still want quality health care for all," MCL asserts on its web site, (bold facing added), "so it is time to learn from our mistakes and move on."

Let's consider that statement closely.

MCL wants to repeal the universal health care coverage law, which has resulted in nearly 98% of the population of Massachusetts having coverage. Among children and senior citizens, those coverage rates are even higher: 99.8% and 99.6%, respectively.

They want us to kill a system that has brought about health care for virtually all citizens for the first time ever in any part of the U.S. And they are offering us the hope that, at some undefined point in the future, we will be able to create a new system that will: (a) deliver quality health care to everyone, and (b) guarantee that health care will never be rationed.

Human life is precious, and every life has incalculable value.

I respect what MCL does in advocating for the rights of the unborn.

But I struggle to understand the logic, never mind the morality, of pro-lifers seeking the destruction of something that has made life-saving care available to a large group of our fellow citizens who never had it before, including some the most vulnerable members of our society, little kids.


The government compels us to purchase insurance if we wish to own and operate a motor vehicle. And the government, to ensure the health of schoolchildren, compels us to have our kids vaccinated against various diseases if we wish to enroll them in school. So why can't the government compel us to purchase health insurance?

Here's another way to think about this:

None of us would say that a 25-year-old man or woman badly injured in an accident should not be able to obtain treatment at a hospital because he or she lacked health insurance. In fact, the law compels hospitals to provide emergency care to all who need it. The injured, uninsured person, therefore, benefits from the legal compulsion hospitals operate under to provide emergency care. Why is that compulsion good and the compulsion to purchase health insurance bad, especially when taxpayers are ultimately forced to subsidize the "free" emergency care that an injured person may receive?

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