(Note: The following was posted as a
blog entry on the
Students for a Free Economy
Web site. SFE is a nonpartisan campus outreach project of the Mackinac Center
that promotes the benefits of free markets, civil society and individual
A well-funded coalition of unions, health care
provider cartels and government-takeover advocacy groups are currently
collecting signatures for a socialist camel’s-nose-under-the-tent called the
"Health Care for Michigan" initiative. The goal of many of its backers is a
complete takeover of this state’s health care system along the lines proposed by
House Bill 4022, which would establish a government-run "single payer" state
health care system.
Here's a better option for Michigan: Enact our own version of the "Medical
Choice for Arizona Act" into law instead. Here's the text:
"The right of citizens to enter into private
contracts with health care providers for health care services shall not be
infringed. No law shall be enacted requiring any citizen, or any class of
citizens, to participate in any state sponsored health care system or plan."
Contrast that with the language the "Health
Care for Michigan" initiative would insert into the Michigan Constitution if
adopted by the people in next November’s general election:
"The State legislature shall pass laws to make
sure that every Michigan resident has affordable and comprehensive health care
coverage through a fair and cost-effective financing system. The Legislature is
required to pass a plan that, through public or private measures, controls
health care costs and provides for medically necessary preventive, primary,
acute and chronic health care needs."
MichiganVotes.org description of the
identical version of the initiative introduced in the Legislature explains (House
Joint Resolution WW), the measure does not define the terms "affordable,"
"comprehensive," "fair," "cost-effective" or "medically necessary."
In other words, it's a sneaky way to get
something warm-and-fuzzy — really fuzzy — into the Constitution, and then
spend the next few years fighting in court about what mandates it actually
imposes. If the backers get a sympathetic Supreme Court at some point, voilà,
a government takeover of the health care system ensues, and your health care
choices will no longer be in your hands, but in those of politicians and
Should the "Health Care for Michigan"
initiative garner sufficient signatures to place it on the ballot this fall, the
Legislature should give voters a genuine choice by also placing the "Medical
Choice Act" alongside it.
In fact, the Legislature should place the
Choice measure on the ballot anyway. In the words of its supporters, "Without
the protection and preservation of the rights of people to make their own health
care choices, lobbyists and bureaucrats will create rules and regulations that
make it harder to get any health care without the approval and authorization of
the government and special interests."
Jack McHugh is senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public
Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich.
Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the
author and the Center are properly cited.