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Home > Opinion-Editorials: 2005
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Social Security and Forced Government Health Care

By Richard E. Ralston
April 29, 2005

When politicians proclaim that you have a “right” to health care, they actually mean many other things. First, that they want unlimited power to force others to provide you with health care—whatever the cost. They also mean that you have no right to manage and provide for your own health care, indeed no right to any health care whatsoever but that which is provided and approved by the government. They want the federal government to decide exactly what treatments you can and cannot have. They also demand that your doctor provide the government with all the personal details of your health care—after all, they’re paying for it aren’t they? Whatever this is, it is not protecting your “rights.”

The principle underlying all of this is government force. During the present debate on Social Security reform, we should keep in mind how the government uses Social Security as one more tool to force retirees into government controlled health care.

After you and your employers have involuntarily paid into Social Security for forty or fifty years—probably a quarter of a million dollars or more—you may at least take a bit of consolation on some fine morning when you walk into the Social Security Administration to apply for your retirement payments. “Thank God,” you might think, “at least I have lived long enough to get some of my money back.” This assumption lies at the heart of the current social security debate. What would be your reaction if you were told, “Sorry, you don’t qualify. You get nothing.” If you think that can never happen, you are mistaken. It is happening now—every day.

For many years the Social Security Administration has used a form that requires anyone applying for Social Security retirement benefits to also sign up for Medicare Part A (hospital) insurance. Participation in Medicare is not compulsory, you see. There is just no place on the form to opt out. Sign the form or you don’t get social security retirement payments. What is the legal basis for this? Without being able to establish a basis in law, the Social Security Administration just does it.

What if you want to buy private insurance that provides better coverage and additional treatment? According to Social Security Administration regulations, if you withdraw from Medicare Part A, you lose your retirement payments, you must return all hospital benefits previously paid, and all Social Security retirement benefits received.

This practice should not be unexpected. Compulsion and force are the foundations upon which Medicare is based. Once you are part of the Medicare system, you must submit to and accept only the health care that Medicare approves. Any physician that accepts Medicare patients is forbidden to give you any other treatment—even if you ask for it and are willing to pay. A physician who accepts such a payment from you is subject to prosecution. What if you have saved up the funds in a Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for the treatment you want? That is unfortunate, because it is forbidden to withdraw these funds for treatments covered by Medicare.

Doesn’t it seem a bit strange that the government goes to such extremes to force you to accept a “free” government benefit of hospital insurance? (“Free,” of course, means that you have already paid for it.) Why do they take your Social Security payments away if you withdraw from Medicare Part A? What is going on here? The answer is government power and force for its own sake. The purpose for collectivist politicians—in the guise of inventing a “right” to health care—is to make you depend on them for your health care, depend on them for your retirement income, depend on them for everything. To make this happen, free citizens (and their physicians) who want to take care of themselves must be singled out and punished.

The really important issue in the current debate on Social Security reform is freedom. Will changes create more freedom and choices for individuals? Or more dependence on and power for government?

Richard E. Ralston is Executive Director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine.


Copyright © 2005 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.
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