Healthcare Reform Opponents May Rue a Victory

House Republicans plan a largely symbolic vote this coming week on repealing the health care reform bill. American Spectator contributor Russ Ferguson thinks they should be careful what they wish for:

When healthcare reform passed over substantial objections, those who opposed it scrambled to find ways to get rid of it.

You can repeal it. You can de-fund it. Or, as Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cucinelli decided, you can sue.

And he may be on to something. There does seem to be something wrong with the United States government telling me that I have to go out into the private marketplace and buy something that I just don't want to buy.

After all, this is a capitalist nation, and capitalism is founded not only on choosing among providers in the marketplace, but on having the choice to stay out of the marketplace altogether.

That's what encourages companies to do better, and to give us a valuable service so that we are willing to dole out our hard-earned dollars to obtain it.

And so far, the courts seem to agree that there is something wrong with that. A federal district court judge has ruled that the "individual mandate," as it is called, is in fact unconstitutional.

But are healthcare opponents biting off more than they can chew?

Even if the government doesn't have the right to force us to buy health insurance, they clearly have the right to tax us, and they clearly have the right to use their spending power to buy health insurance for us.

So they could do exactly that: Raise our taxes and provide us with health insurance.

That's exactly what the most ardent supporters of healthcare reform wanted, but it is what opponents feared most: The public option.

Now if opponents succeed in convincing higher courts that the individual mandate is indeed unconstitutional, they may succeed in bringing their biggest fear - the public option - to reality.

The public option is a nationwide system of government-administered healthcare. Opponents argue that means not only long wait times and poor service, but your life - and every decision regarding it - is basically in the government's hands.

The individual mandate, forcing us to go out and buy our own health insurance, was really a product of compromise - some wanted the public option, and some wanted no option at all.

Now, if the Supreme Court finds the individual mandate is in fact unconstitutional, and we go back to the drawing board, the question is, which option will we end up with?

Opponents are hoping it's no option at all. But it could very well be the dreaded public option instead.