Guest Editorial: Ward Connerly
Fundamental principle of fairness and equal rights
By Ward Connerly | July 8, 2009
Although I am a resident of California, I have become an avid fan of the leadership of the Arizona Legislature: Kirk Adams, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Bob Burns, President of the Senate.
It is no secret California is in serious trouble. Our educational system is in shambles. Unbridled immigration has contributed to our fiscal problems in education, law enforcement and health care. Many cities and counties and our state government are on the brink of bankruptcy. Employers and a significant number of businesses are fleeing the state. You name the problem and we have it in the “Golden State.”
At the root of our troubles is a legislature that has never found a new government program or a tax it doesn’t like. In addition to being overtaxed and overregulated with a state government that has become too intrusive and too unwieldy, the people have a legislature that can only be described as a bunch of spendthrifts. And, now that there is insufficient money to spend to support all of the programs they have created over the years, they lack the stomach to make the cuts that have to be made. In their perpetual attempt to provide a “safety net” for some, they have essentially eliminated the ladder for others to climb to the top.
Adams and Burns and the caucuses they represent, on the other hand, are seeking to keep government limited in Arizona and they want a state in which every able-bodied person carries his or her own weight. They want equal opportunity for every man, woman and child and preferences for none on the basis of their skin color, ethnic background or gender.
It is this latter aspiration that has attracted my attention.
Several weeks ago, it came to my attention that Senator Russell Pearce had introduced a measure to allow the people of Arizona to vote in 2010 on the issue of affirmative action.
The operative clause of Pearce’s constitutional amendment is: “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.”
Two members of my staff – Jennifer Gratz and Max McPhail – and I arranged to meet with Senator Pearce and offered our assistance to him.
During the course of our visits to Arizona, we also happened to meet Representative Steve Montenegro, a freshman legislator with one of the brightest political futures in the nation. As we discussed Pearce’s constitutional amendment, Montenegro was passionate about his objection to the patronizing presumption that is inherent in affirmative action: “As a ‘minority,’ I am expected to tolerate the appalling belief that I can’t compete without a preference,” he said. When approached by the leadership of the House, Montenegro readily offered to be the sponsor of Pearce’s legislation in the House of Representatives.
Nearly a month later, Adams, Burns, Montenegro and Pearce, the fellow members of their respective caucuses and some very able assistance from their respective staff, had done what no other legislative body in America has ever done: give the people a chance to vote on whether they want race preferences or whether they want every person to be treated equally by the government.
The battle to accomplish this objective was not an easy one primarily because of the solid opposition of the Democrat members of the Arizona Legislature who seemed to embrace the rationale of Representative Cloves Campbell, the only “African-American” member of the House, who responded when asked how much longer affirmative action preferences should remain in effect: “400 years! How about that?” It is noteworthy that Campbell identified me as a “pseudo-black” man.
It bears mentioning that the leadership of the Arizona Legislature had the wisdom of their action confirmed when the United States Supreme Court, on June 30, handed down its ruling in the Ricci firefighters case. In that ruling, the Court reaffirmed the principle that all Americans are entitled to equal treatment by their government.
On November 2, 2010, the people of Arizona will have a chance to express their thanks to the Arizona legislative leadership and all those legislators who voted for this fundamental principle of fairness and equal rights.
Guest Editorial: Dr. Eric Novack
Hold the fort!
By Dr. Eric Novack | July 8, 2009
On June 22, the Arizona legislature voted to place the Health Care Freedom Act on the 2010 ballot. In doing so, legislators said plainly to the citizens of Arizona and to elected officials in Washington: health care reform cannot come at the expense of the rights and values that built this country.
The hysterical claims of the opponents of the Health Care Freedom Act only serve to expose their real goals for ‘health care reform’: the complete transfer of decision making power over health and health care away from patients and families and into the hands of government.
The referendum will place two rights into our state constitution:
The right to always be able to spend your own money for lawful health care services.
The right to choose to not participate in a government-run or sanctioned health care system – including the ability to keep your personal health care information private.
No government bureaucrat or panel of experts should have the ultimate authority to determine whether you or your loved ones should be condemned to suffer.
The rights are so basic and fundamental that many will wonder why this is even necessary, for no Congress or President would ever promote legislation that would aim to control our most personal possession, our health, to such a degree. Unfortunately, some of the so-called reforms that have already passed Congress and others that are being considered aim to destroy them.
The stimulus bill was used as a tool to vastly expand the federal health care bureaucracy.
By the end of 2014, every American will be forced to have an accessible electronic health record that can be viewed by government officials without consent, permission, or notification.
The stimulus bill created the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research – whose ultimate function will be to become a federal health care rationing board for all Americans, starting with seniors. As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during her confirmation testimony “Congress did not impose any limits on it.”
In the proposed “public plan option,” the rules for those who join the plan, in whatever version it will exist, will absolutely contain severe restrictions on being able to spend our own money for care that is not authorized. Legislators will, of course, not be so transparent as to put it that way. Rather, they will merely threaten health care providers with imprisonment for providing the care.
The protections found within The Health Care Freedom Act have never been more needed. Congress is proposing to force every American into a health care plan – or suffer tax penalties, wage garnishing, or another penalty. In spite of his vocal opposition to this during the presidential primaries, President Obama now appears to find this a good idea. It appears that the so-called individual mandate and employer mandate is “on the table” to win the support of private health insurers and pharmaceutical companies who envision millions of new forced customers.
The problems are several: first, once you are forced into a plan, public or private, the health care you can seek out will be completely restricted by the rules and terms of the plan. This may include restricting access to non-traditional or individualized care, even though we know that future health care advances are likely to come from recognizing that we are not made “one-size-fits-all.” Second, through increased taxes and withholding, there is good evidence workers of all incomes will suffer under the weight of higher taxes and fewer jobs.
And, when it comes to reducing health care spending, the mandate for health insurance in Massachusetts, since it debuted in 2006, has resulted in longer wait times for doctor visits, no decrease in emergency room visits, and an even higher rate of health care cost inflation.
The Health Care Freedom Act will protect our rights and steer health care reform along a more sustainable and effective path. The health care safety net is protected, as are Medicare beneficiaries and those with workers’ compensation injuries.
The cynics who shout that we cannot have health care reform without government intruding into our most personal decisions are false prophets offering a false choice.
The Health Care Freedom Act puts patients first and deserves the support of all Arizonans, regardless of party affiliation. Our health, and that of our loved ones, is too important.
Learn more about The Health Care Freedom Act and how you can help at www.azhealthcarefreedomact.com.