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    Congress battles as Medicare burns

    06/25/2010

     Personal Freedom and Power 106:  Funding Government

    Government is not, as some people like to say, a necessary evil; it is not an evil, but a means, the only means available to make peaceful human coexistence possible. But it is the opposite of liberty. It is beating, imprisoning, hanging. Whatever a government does it is ultimately supported by the actions of armed constables. If the government operates a school or a hospital, the funds required are collected by taxes, i.e., by payments exacted from the citizens.  -Ludwg von Mises

     

     

     

    Congress battles as Medicare burns

     

    David Rogers in Politico reports: The worsening budget impasse over Medicare reimbursements is straining not just doctors but also House-Senate relations — with taxpayers facing millions of dollars in added costs for reprocessing claims. 

    Anticipating additional money for Medicare, the Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) withheld paying 50 million claims since June 1.  Since Congress has not acted, the CMS, in accordance with the funding formula first enacted in the late 1990s, is cutting physician payments by 21%.

    Additionally, Rogers reports on the conflicts between Republicans, Democrats, intra-party conflicts among Democrats and strained relationship between Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid.  Meanwhile, more and more physicians are refusing to treat Medicare patients.

    As government expands, liberty contracts. The great conundrum of modern democracy is how society selects the optimal functions of government, and limits government’s coercive power to the defined functions. 

     

    Everyone in DC presumes Congress will repay the doctors.  However, the entire process will be very inefficient and ultimately very costly to the American taxpayers.

    Tragically, it is much more than costing a few dollars and cents to the taxpayers.  Personal freedom is diminished.  How? The doctors are dependant on implied government promises, and payments.  More and more Medicare patients have reduced services.  Present and future workers will be taxed, and thus deprived of the fruits of their intellect and labor.

    This political stalemate exemplifies the tension between personal freedom and the democratic process.  Every tax reduces personal freedom.  Every government program, i.e., Medicare, is controlled by rule and regulation imposed by politicians, bureaucrats, policeman and judges. 

    Ronald Reagan understood the tension between personal freedom and government:  As government expands, liberty contracts. The great conundrum of modern democracy is how society selects the optimal functions of government, and limits government’s coercive power to the defined functions.