Voters in Arizona will decide next year whether residents will be subject to mandates in the pending health care reform that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are promoting.No, never mind the fact that 1) there's no health care plan yet, 2) there's no public option yet, 3) there's no mandate that you have to have health care yet. Arizona is already up to step 5, which is a voter referendum picking a state's rights battle over an issue that doesn't exist yet.
At least five other states – Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming – have considered proposals to take pre-emptive action against the pending federal mandates, but those proposals have either not made it out of committee, failed to get enough votes from one side of the legislature, or are still being crafted.
Only the Arizona Legislature introduced an initiative (HCR2014), which if passed, would amend the state constitution to codify that no resident would be required to participate in any public health care option. Arizonans will vote on the initiative in November 2010.
“HCR2014 is proactive and will protect patients’ fundamental rights,” Arizona State Rep. Nancy Barto, a Republican, said in a statement. “We are a front-line battle state to stop the momentum of this powerful government takeover of your health care decisions. Health care by lobbyists thwarts your rights and can be stopped here.”
The main issue is the core of the Obama health plan – a government run or “public option” – to compete with private health insurers. Some state lawmakers fear such legislation would force residents to buy into the public plan.
“The eyes of the nation will be on Arizona next year to see what happens,” Christie Herrera, director of the Health and Human Services Taskforce with the American Legislative Exchange Council, told CNSNews.com. “If this succeeds in Arizona, other states will take notice and push harder.”
Never mind that Arizona's huge retirement community already means a much higher than normal percentage of the population is already on government-run health care...it's called Medicare. Clearly Arizona Republicans are gearing this up as one of those Tenth Amendment Versus Obama The Tyrant battles that are all the rage in Wingnutland recently, despite the fact that the whole thing is silly beyond belief. It's the equivalent of agreeing to a series of chess matches with an opponent, and then immediately stating that in game 4 at some point you're going to castle queenside, even though the first three games haven't even started yet.
But the point here is of course to frame the argument that Obama's public option is nothing more than health care tyranny. It's the same idea behind "Obama's going to take our guns away, buy guns now!" mentality that has kept gun stores out of stock since November. By framing everything as the people versus the Tyrant Obama, concentrating on the so far nonexistant mandate issue instead of affordable health care for all Americans issue, the Republicans are changing the debate from health care for all versus cost, to mandates versus freedom and liberty.
It's classic wingnut fare, change the terms of the battle from the big issue to "Is Obama the anti-christ or just pure evil?" It all goes back to the truly mean, violent, apocalyptic streak behind all these protests and whatnot, the people in this country who see Barack Obama as the Enemy of America, people so threatened by a black man as President that they see him as an existential threat to America's very continued daily operation, a threat somehow so dire that it must be excised like cancer.
Indeed, there's a whole cottage industry of wingnut fantasy involving fighting the evil tyranny of a liberal administration. They love the idea. It turns them on. It didn't matter to them that Bush really was a tyrant, only that they think Obama is one.
Watch. This one will pick up momentum as the health care debate rages on.
[UPDATE 12:10 PM] And let's not forget that this just keeps devolving into "Us vs. Them" and there are people that are perfectly happy to view America in that way.