By Steve Woodward
A well-financed activist group intends to counter the North Carolina treasurer’s plan to reduce health care costs accrued by state employees, active and retired, by pushing an alternative plan that encourages citizens to adopt healthier lifestyles. (Insert laugh track here).
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the Left’s playbook: Demand more spending to ensure better outcomes, which, eventually, will pay for themselves (except they never do). Any competing effort to reduce health care costs is dismissed as yet another heartless, “push Granny over the cliff” scheme.
In fact, radio spots paid for by Partners for Innovation in Health Care make three references to State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s “risky scheme” to trim spending by up to $400 million annually. The spots rely on semantic nuances that make their claims sound perfectly logical, if not reasonable, such as “ration care”, “jeopardize quality”, and “cripple operations”. These evoke memories of the deceitful claim by then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in 2017 that “hundreds of thousands of people will die” if ObamaCare was ever repealed. Who could possibly support rationing, jeopardizing, crippling or genocide?
Folwell is on record repeatedly saying that spending on state employees’ healthcare continues to rise, that providers such as UNC Health Care rebuke his efforts to examine actual costs, and that the snowballing effect is unsustainable. Folwell has emphasized his concern about North Carolina’s promise to provide more than $30 billion in health care coverage for retired state employees, of which less than 5% has been set aside, reported Business North Carolina in a Jan. 25 overview of growing opposition to Folwell.
Partners for Innovation is enlisting donors to help it spread its message that healthcare costs are not negotiable. It plans to raise $2.5 million toward that goal in coming years. Democrats in the General Assembly are floating plans to limit the treasurer’s ability to control health care costs.
The Socialist Left despises big corporations, but embraces government largesse and big healthcare with arms wide open. Rather than answering Folwell’s question — “I know what you are charging (the state) but how much am I supposed to pay you?” — Democrats and their activist supporters in the health care industry want to direct even more funds toward insane initiatives to coerce individual state employees to take better care of themselves.
Radio spots contend the treasurer disregards the dire need for a state health plan that will “provide (preventative) services”. Without these services, activists will not be able to encourage (force) state employees and retirees to manage their own chronic diseases, stop smoking, lose weight and adopt “active lifestyle solutions”.
Polarization in politics increasingly leaves responsible citizens with choices so blatantly absurd that only Democrats view them as black and white. The state’s first Republican treasurer in 142 years is determined to demand accountability by health care giants for the services they provide. What a monster, this Folwell!
His opposition sees more spending on coercion as the only option. Guard fast food drive-throughs with Dietician Police. Shutter ABC liquor stores. Deliver treadmills to every home. Ban smoking in the workplace. (Oops, already tried that. Didn’t stop smokers from smoking elsewhere). Make all restaurant parking remote but without shuttles. Finally, an “active lifestyle solution” if ever there was one.
The only consolation for donors to Partners for Innovation in Health Care pushing for more, not smarter, spending, is this: Their ideas are positively benign compared to their progressive brethren on Capitol Hill, who have unveiled the Green New Deal. This proposal does not merely seek to alter lifestyles, but life as we know it. No air travel tops the list. Elimination of fossil fuels, of course. And it goes on, all to be achieved in 10 years at a projected cost of $6.6 trillion annually.
Writing in February 11 editions of The Wall Street Journal, Barton Swaim observes that the Green New Deal “is an expression of dreams, but that doesn’t make it pointless or merely comical.” Economic freedom for individuals is not the aim of progressives. Whether here in North Carolina or in The Swamp, unchecked economic control and collectivism are their guiding principles. Swaim quotes the haunting, timeless words of political philosopher Michael Oakeshott, who warned that “the conjunction of dreaming and ruling generates tyranny.”
Then, there is this to ponder when next the anti-Folwell spots air. Oakeshott instructed that the political dream “is a vision of a condition of human circumstance from which the occasion of conflict has been removed, a vision of human activity coordinated and set going in a single direction and of every resource being used to the full.”
Until every resource is depleted.