Is health care freedom in jeopardy?

The Wall Street Journal makes note of a ballot measure in Arizona which reads:

“no law shall be passed that restricts a person’s freedom of choice of private heath care systems or private plans of any type.” Also: “No law shall interfere with a person’s right to pay directly for lawful medical services . . .”

Sounds noncontroversial – unless, of course, you wanted to create a government run health care system, in which you outlaw private health care or paying for health care above what government provides.  Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of opposition:

Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano argues that Proposition 101 would limit future health-care reform options. Eric Novack, a physician and the chairman of Proposition 101, responds, “The only option that our initiative rules out is a mandatory single-payer system.” Single-payer health-care systems, as in Canada, make it illegal in most cases for people to go outside the government’s system and contract for their own medical services. Arizona’s proposition forbids those kinds of restrictions.

Defenders of a government-run system, Barack Obama among them, insist they have no intention of limiting patient rights to choose health plans and doctors. That is belied, however, by the strong opposition to the Arizona initiative. The Democratic leader of the Arizona state House, Phil Lopes, is trying to pass a single-payer bill which states explicitly: “A person shall not provide private health insurance to a beneficiary for health care that is covered by the health security plan . . . .”

Interesting that many who want to make health care “a right” also want to limit how much, and limit the quality of, health care you receive – which is exactly what single-payer/socialized medicine involves. As the article notes:

Proposition 101 goes to the heart of the national health-care debate. Universal coverage plans, regulated by government, nearly always try to restrain costs by restricting the choices individual can make. This assumes a uniformity in the real-world of patients or the practice of medicine that simply doesn’t exist, especially amid rapid developments in medical science. Who should decide — the patient or a government treatment schedule — whether a cancer sufferer should be able to try an experimental therapy or under what circumstances a senior citizen gets a hip replacement?