Tom Coburn is a doctor. An OB/GYN. And he thinks the Affordable Care Act has "Sovietized" American medicine by providing for some cost controls and choosing a minimum benefit package by committee. Once again, definitions are useful. The term
July 1, 2012

Tom Coburn is a doctor. An OB/GYN. And he thinks the Affordable Care Act has "Sovietized" American medicine by providing for some cost controls and choosing a minimum benefit package by committee.

Once again, definitions are useful. The term "Sovietized" is intended to put the Red Scare into everyone, of course. It's just a higher form of the scare word "socialism" intended to invoke memories of diving under desks in elementary school so the Russkies wouldn't nuke us without the benefit of a desk over our heads.

If one were actually astute enough to have a discussion over Coburn's red-baiting, they might begin with the general welfare clause of the Constitution, and ask Mr. Coburn how it was that our founding fathers were hard at work "sovietizing" this nation well before he was even a zygote.

Here's a refresher course, via Winning Words Project:

John Adams, Founding Father and 2nd President; Thoughts on Government, 1776:β€œGovernment is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”

James Madison, Founding Father and 4th President; Federalist Papers, No. 57, February 19, 1788:

β€œThe aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.”

Here's something for Dr./Senator Tom Coburn to think about: Those two founding fathers and framers of our Constitution, along with others, use the term "Common Good." That's right. Common good, not for the purpose of making one group of people rich, or giving OB/GYNs the right to tell women what to do with their bodies, or making them wealthy and part of the investor class.

No. Common good is exactly that. What is good for all of the people who are governed by said government.

What is Coburn really saying here? He is mourning the end of a two-tiered system. Don't let the specious claims that we're heading for a two-tiered system fool you. We have one right now. This two-tiered system is easily defined by those who have, and those who do not. In Coburn's world, health care would not be available, affordable or accessible to anyone other than those who have the wealth to be able to afford it. Just as Mitt Romney believes everyone should get the education they can afford, so too does Tom Coburn believe health care should be limited to what one can afford, regardless of what that means in human terms.

The rest of his argument is just sound and fury. He knows this argument is done, that they've lost it, and that access to health care is a reality. The best he can hope for now is to convince the ignorant and the fearful that if they dared to reach for that access, they would be "Sovietized."

By the way, the reason it's taken 100 years to come anywhere close to achieving universal coverage (and I freely admit the ACA does not achieve that) is because the foundational belief in this two tiered system as gospel has driven the fear campaigns and political proselytizing into frenzied fearmongering that defies reality.

Whether Tom Coburn likes it or not, every citizen in this country will have access to health care, and it will be a matter of individual choice as to whether they choose that access or choose to make a contribution to the Personal Responsibility fund.

Whether Tom Coburn likes it or not, the standardbearer for his party -- Mitt Romney -- is the owner and rightfully deserves credit for the Affordable Care Act coming into existence today. So I wonder whether he would look his nominee in the eye and accuse him of "Sovietizing" health care.

Conservatives should remember that every thing they say slamming the Affordable Care Act will make a lovely ad reminding their base as to who first ran with the idea and endorsed it as the right way to bring access to health care to all. I personally will put up lots of my own money to back candidates who are willing to call Coburn and his ilk out for the frauds they are.

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