Quit mortgaging our future, dang it!

Freedom, IN – Of course we need to cut taxes.  I’d vote to end income tax entirely.

But we already know this game. Politicians say that “government is too big,” but then make it bigger. They trumpet the need to cut spending, but then spend more.

And, of course, they cut taxes (just a little) without fixing the first two things; meaning that they’ll later raise taxes, and cut promised benefits.

Nobody likes to pay taxes.  But taxes are a symptom, not the disease itself.  The disease is ungoverned, unregulated, out-of-control politics and all the cost and violence that entails.

Every single one of the other 2018 primary election candidates for Indiana’s US Senate seat are promising more government. Every one of the others promise more fear-aggression-syndrome foreign policy, more domestic militarization, more intrusions into our privacy, trade and personal interactions.

I’m the only candidate promising less.

A lot less

I have a plan for Peace, prosperity, Security, Liberty and Justice for ALL, in eight steps.

But the summary is that I mean to cut the corruption, cost, intrusiveness, abusiveness and ineffectiveness of our central government by actually cutting powers, programs, agencies…and people, from that government. I propose establishing a truly federal (instead of our increasingly unitary) government as defined by the authorizing compact.

That is how this is supposed to work. That is still the law, as written and amended.

And I’m the only candidate who’s all about that.

Liberty or Bust!
Andy Horning
Freedom, Indiana


We could fix it in a Single Day

But voters, as always, must choose

Freedom, IN – Many feel that our “Major Party” choices on Election Day have been getting worse and worse, while the general condition of our society and individual lives seems to be devolving toward calamity.

That’s true, of course.

But we could fix it if only we’d acknowledge the problem, admit who freely chose this, and realize who’s got the power to turn this around. The fix itself is simple enough, and mostly written-down already.

The most important three steps are:liberty

That’s in reverse order, unfortunately; because as congressmen I could address the first two listed only after voters take a stand against the recent (since the 1970’s), self-appointed and irretrievably corrupt, “Two Party System”…by electing me!

YOU!Only voters can topple the two-party-in-name-only, crony network, which has become little more than a front, distraction, protection and marketing group for the finance and militarism elites who run the world behind the Two Party Firewall.

So before we can nullify the unjust, profligate, unconstitutional judgments, agencies, laws and actions which produced the welfare cliff, the horrific cost of healthcare, oppressive lawless bureaucracy, and of course endless war and ever-more militarization, voters must first say something to the ruling elites that they’ve not heard in a hundred years:


The other 8th district candidates have no intention or ability to fix the mess they choose to represent. So, first, voters must vote against that corrupt monstrosity. Yes, it’s good to vote against what’s wrong. To say otherwise is a terrible misunderstanding of the whole point of elections; and that is for peaceful revolution. If they feel that they can vote for me, that’d be great. But first, voters must fire the Two Party System!

After voters fire that shot heard ‘round the world, we can talk about other reforms including:

  • Term Limits
  • Rule of Law
  • End “earmarks” (pork)
  • End special classes, special deals for special people – equality for all at long last
  • Sunset provision/amendment to refine and reduce the number of laws so that our rules are:
    • Few enough to actually know
    • Simple enough to actually obey
    • Important enough to enforce without exceptions or special classes

None of the preceding is ideological, untested or even new. Most of it is already law.

It’s all in voters’ power to set things right. But first, in order to use their power, they must understand that they’ve always had it, and used it to get to where we are today. And for that to happen, they need to be better informed of their choices, and how elections have been working up to now.

Liberty or Bust!

Andrew Horning

Libertarian for 8th District US House of Representatives

Facebook www.facebook.com/HorningForCongress/

Technology versus Politics

Technology is marvelous. It tends to make things better, cheaper, more available. It tends to make people happy.

Politics, on the contrary, is the opposite of all the above.  The most exciting, promising technology turns divisive, corrupt, costly and deadly once politicians get their mitts on it.

We should never have let them monkey with our healthcare.  I’ve said so many times in the past (see links below), and I’ll keep saying so until we snap out of our stupor …or it comes crashing down around us (at which point I will say I Told You So).

So, let me offer just one, seemingly minor, even merely clerical reason, why your healthcare sucks.

It’s called ICD-10.

First of all, in my business of healthcare information/image technology, compliance with ICD-10 has been an enormous (i.e. expen$ive) undertaking. There are seven squillion, nine hundred and ninety three fillion codes (give or take) to correlate to software hooks and data. It has made the inherently complex business of making products for patient care even more complex.

The mass of codes and interrelations is certainly a hassle for the engineers making stuff to sell to doctors – presumably to make healthcare providers’ jobs easier (at increa$ed co$t, of cour$e).

But what does ICD-10 mean to doctors, patients and the tangle of insurance companies and taxpayers who ultimately pay for all this complexity?

Well, as of October 1, the wrong code can lead to not only a denied claim and/or months/years of costly hassle, but perhaps significant punishment (on basis of “Medicare Fraud” among other things too legally frightening to mention) for the doctor/institution as well.

Good, you say?

You want fewer mistakes in medicine.

Yes of course.  We all do.

Doctors must do better, certainly.  Prescription drugs, correctly taken, kill more people by far than do “illegal” drugs.  And hospital stays in general (with iatrogenic infections, drugs, mistakes, etc.) kill more Americans than everything but cancer and heart disease.

But what does “do better” mean?  And how do we help make that happen?

And how much arm-twisting, lawsuit-hurling, defrocking, fining and imprisoning force does it take to be helpful??

Let’s see how ICD-10 “helps.”

Let’s say a Farmer Andy comes to the Family Practice clinic with an infected wound that he’s not so sure he can explain. Stuff happens to farmers all the time, and he just can’t remember what this wound was from, initially. He’s always getting bangs and scrapes and cuts, after all.

(And let us be truthful. Andy is a terrible farmer. He’s mostly into quixotic politics)

So, what was the injury initiating this visit?

It’s legally critical we get this right!

Was it ICD-10 code W55.21, “Bitten by a cow,” or W61.33, “Pecked by a chicken?”

Was it when he became a V00.01 “Pedestrian on foot injured in a collision with roller skater?”
Come to think of it, he had been visiting his nephew in prison when that happened, which could add a Y92.147,“Courtyard of prison as the place of occurrence of the external cause.”

Does that qualify as a Z63.1, “Problems in relationship with in-laws?”

Anyway, the doctor knows it wasn’t Y92.253, “Hurt at the Opera,” since Farmer Andy hasn’t gone there since the last episode…(we mustn’t discuss it here.  That would be a violation of HIPAA rules which could lead to a revoked license and even prison).

Farmer Andy did mention (under his breath, seemingly ashamed) that it could have been an “Accident while knitting or crocheting,” which would be a Y93.D1.

The doctor hated to ask, but since he knew Andy and his family had been to Sea World, could Andy have been “Struck by Orca, initial encounter,” which would be a W56.22?

No, said Andy.  It certainly wouldn’t have been a Killer Whale, nor was it a strike.

There was perhaps that bite from a Sea Lion, Andy recalled.  Though it wasn’t the first time, or even the second time that had happened.

So that would be a W56.11XS “Sequela…Bitten by Sea Lion.”

Hmmm, the doctor thought. That would have a very specific look to it.  No; it must be something else.

The wound wouldn’t look like this if it were a V91.07 “Burn due to water-skis on fire,” certainly.  He’d seen plenty of those before.

And the doctor could tell just by looking at him that Farmer Andy hadn’t been “Sucked into jet engine,” or X52.

Or was he getting the codes wrong?


Wait…X52 is actually “Prolonged stay in weightless environment.”

Was it V95.40? No…that one is the rather vague, “Unspecified spacecraft accident injuring occupant.”

How about Y37.54?  (Doctor types in code and waits…it’s a big database)

When the doctor worked in the hospital, there was an entire department of people whose only job is to “do coding.”  Here in the clinic, they’ve got a part-time/outside IT department, and sometimes their network bogs down, and…
Oh, here it comes…

Oh heck no!  Y37.54 is “Military operation involving nuclear radiation effects of nuclear weapon.”  SMH, he thought.  He should’ve remembered this one from last week’s incident.

Ah, there it is…V97.33 is the sucked-into-jet-engine code.

Dang it, he has to remember that.  The CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) “ICD-10 Ombudsman” was fairly lenient last time.

He can’t afford to make that mistake again!

OK, I have a question for you.  Does the preceding strike you as the best way to improve healthcare delivery?


Now, codifying data is a great idea.  In the right hands and in the right way, when we’re ready (this is a key part), then having convenient, appropriate labels for all our data makes it easier to store, find, and use in a meaningful way.  And I’m even all in favor of people using ICD-10 exactly as it is…if they choose to.

Let me restate that.

If people trained in the care of patients, in their situation (hospital, clinic, private practice) find that using ICD-10 codes helps them treat patients, then great.  Excellent, even!

But that’s not how our $y$tem work$, is it?  It’s not up to the healthcare professional how things are billed and paid anymore.  It hasn’t been for many years now.  In the most practical $en$e, politicians are more involved in healthcare decisions than doctors are.  Doctors can bill for only what they can get paid for by people other than patients; and that is determined by politicians.  In this case, technology becomes more of a parasite than an aid.

As a true-free-market technology guy, that breaks my heart.

Just imagine you’re trying to sell something; a product you make, your old car, cookies at a bake sale…but bickering politicians, lawyers and lobbyists determined what you could charge for it.  Imagine they demand you buy some things, and don’t let you buy others…and that every political intervention not only directly affects your job…it substantially changes your job.

How would that work out in the real world?

And the way “meaningful use” and other “federal” requirements are being FORCED on healthcare providers is, at this state in our knowledge and technology, madness on top of even more madness (do I even need to mention Obamacare?).

To make matters worse, healthcare has been a union shop/monopoly for over a hundred years.  There can be no serious competition with what politicians and lobbyists call healthcare.

If the rest of our technology worked like this, we’d all be clacking away on Windows 3.1, at best.

There were smart people involved in the development of ICD codes.  Lots of them.  But their seemingly dedicated work was performed in disconnection from monetary, human and practical technology concerns.  It’s another good example, in fact, of such obsessive bureaucratic “paperwork” (albeit mostly without paper), that the recording and processing of all this data can and often does compromise patient care in ways analogous to the Observer Effect.

OK, so I have another question for you.

Should we let doctors, who go to school for many years and spend a lot of time in residency and continuous training, actually do the jobs they were trained to do, or should we continue to vote for ever-more intrusion into that profession by politicians, who don’t need any education or even interest in healthcare at all?

Well, please think on it.

It’s your money, your rights, your life and health at stake here, you know.





Rule of Law Reboot

What follows is a resolution that’d be a good first step to a better course for our nation.
If elected to congress, I’d introduce it immediately.
But don’t wait for me…please feel free to send this to your representatives in local, state or federal office.
PLEASE do this or something like it!
I’d of course prefer that this be passed as a Bill or Joint Resolution.  But even as a Concurrent or Simple Resolution, it’d open a discussion on what sort of nation we’re to be; a nation with governed government, or a great big crime syndicate:

Whereas the plain wording of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America is binding law;

Be it resolved that;

No federal law, agency, program or international treaty that depends upon authority not specifically granted by the Constitution for the United States of America shall be valid;

Any federal agency, law,  program or international treaty transcending authority specifically granted by the Constitution for the United States of America is null and void;

Unconstitutional laws, agencies, programs and treaties have created both problems and dependencies that will take time to rectify;

All unconstitutional federal powers, delegations, laws, programs, treaties and entities that cannot be immediately nullified must be phased out within no more than ten years.


cropped-youAn Indiana/local version of this could be (SOMEBODY PLEASE INTRODUCE THIS HERE IN INDIANA!):

Whereas the plain wording of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America, and Article I Section 25 of the Indiana Constitution is binding law;

Be it resolved that;

No federal or state law, agency, program or international treaty that depends upon authority not specifically granted by the Constitution for the United States of America  or the Constitution of the State of Indiana shall be valid;

Any federal or state agency, law,  program or international treaty transcending authority specifically granted by the Constitution for the United States of America is null and void;

Unconstitutional laws, agencies, programs and treaties have created both problems and dependencies that will take time to rectify;

All unconstitutional governing powers, delegations, laws, programs, treaties and entities that cannot be immediately nullified must be phased out within no more than ten years.


Your vote’s not a poker chip; it’s weapon.


Do you really want to live like this?

According to our Declaration of Independence, governments derive “…their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  But as demonstrated in the Middle East today, all government powers, just or unjust, are by consent of the governed; and that consent can be withdrawn from even the most oppressive dictators.

So the problem with despotism is never really the despot.  The problem is that for every despot there is a majority of citizens who empowered that despot.  Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Caligula and countless others didn’t kill hundreds of millions by themselves, you know.   Do not fool yourself; people like Kim Jong Il, Charles Taylor, Hirohito, Mugabe, Quadhafi, Nebuchadnezzar II, Nero or even Vlad the Impaler are everywhere and always among us.  They are nobody special by themselves.

Here in the USA, we can conveniently, painlessly choose how we are to live.  Deny it or not, we have exactly what the majority of us have freely chosen.  We may say we want change, but we vote for mostly elites and incumbents. We may say we don’t like the corruption and money in politics, but less than 10% of us ever vote for anything else. Many dictators of the past century, including Benito Mussolini, were elected by people just like us.

So consider what we’ve chosen.  We’ve not had even a year’s peace since the War to End All Wars.  The Home of The Brave has sacrificed freedom for empty promises of security.  The Land of The Free has the world’s highest percentage of citizens in prison.  We really do tax people out of their homes to pay for homelessness programs; and we tax, regulate and litigate away businesses to stimulate the economy.  We guard borders everywhere in the world except at home.  For the first time ever, we’re working longer hours, taking fewer vacations, spending less time with our kids, and living more poorly than the previous generation.  The rules we must live by are unknowable and ever-changing – law has now become little more than incantations, as high priests of law in grand courts decree, apparently on whim, how things are to be.

Are you happy with this?  Is this how you want to live?

Humans can learn.  When we want something, we know all about our choices of color, flavor, engine size, craftsmanship, price or caliber.  We spend crazy amounts of time on sports, or romance novels.  I know people who can tell you the vertical jump height of their favorite basketball stars, or can detail Oprah’s diet ups and downs.

But by what I’ve personally seen in tens of thousands of average voters, We The People apparently don’t care about the injustice and madness we’ve chosen to make of our lives.  We know less about those we’ve chosen to lord over us than we know about movie stars.  We certainly don’t know anything about our state and federal constitutions.

Despite what we may say, our votes say that we want unaccountable people of status and money to tell us what to do.  Our behavior in the voting booth is beckoning a dictator.  I believe we’re going to get one soon.

May I make a request?  I’d like for you to read your state and federal constitutions and see what we’ve thrown away…and could have back anytime we choose.  They are still law, though we act otherwise.  They would still work better than anything else ever tried, if we’d only try them.

If you’ve taken the hour or so it takes to read the federal constitution, you already know that federal government should be invisible to almost all of us almost all the time.  The Indiana constitution is the contract most relevant to Hoosier life.  It’s a longer read, but still not terribly long or complicated.  Both comprise rules of life that are few enough to know, simple enough to understand, and important enough that everybody should obey them without exception, all the time.  The free life these contracts describe is simpler, safer, and in every way better than the politicized lives we’re living now.

You can read these constitutions (with my annotations)here:

Please ask other people to read them too.  If you know somebody who wants to read them, and has no internet access, and you’re too cheap to print them out yourself, then contact me at thefreedomfarm@gmail.com, and I’ll get you copies.

Yes; it’s that important to me. I have to live here too…


Andy’s Annotated US Constitution

With all the disinformation and historical revisionism buzzing like flies on politics (even with the “Tea Party” as much as anywhere else), I just had to present what I believe to be the facts.

So here’s an annotated USA constitution again: https://wedeclare.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/annotated-usa-constitution.pdf


Summer 2010 Indiana Policy Review

Here’s the latest Indiana Policy Review summer 2010 journal – “A Tea Party Primer.”  Please pass it on to everybody you know.  Tell them to pass it on to everybody they know.


It’s now or never, my friends…

Here’s one last column before I take down this site:

I have never believed in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or that creepy Tooth Fairy thing. 

But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t nurtured other baseless, nutty beliefs until some painful paroxysm jolted me awake. 

Many years ago, under horrible personal circumstances, I endured the same spiritual upheaval you’re feeling right now.  Just as with you, my religion turned out to be a big lie.  My false god turned against me, just as it’s turning against you now.  So like you, I can no longer believe in the charity, peace and love of …politicians. 

While initially painful, there is relief in this truth that sets you free. 

But there’s another problem.  Nobody alive remembers how liberty works.  We cannot imagine how schools, roads jobs, healthcare, or food ever existed without a political genesis, subsequent bailouts, lawsuits and bipartisan bickering.  Only if you’re over 100 years old did you even exist when there was such a thing as a free market; with all the innovation, competition and rapid advancement that entails.

So as we endure the agony of Change that’s not working, we must thoughtfully prepare a better way forward.  I suggest we first retrieve what we’ve lost from the past.

All federal authority is still clearly written into the Constitution for the United States of America (Article I, Section 8; Article II, Sections 2-4; Article III), which you could read in just a few minutes.  All other powers are still very clearly denied by one short sentence (Amendment 10).  Similarly, all Indiana government powers are spelled out in the Indiana Constitution, while every other conceivable power is still denied by a single sentence (Article I, Section 25).

No state or federal constitution was ever amended, altered or suspended to authorize most of what governments now do to citizens.  Nullification of anything unconstitutional is already law at every level of government in the republic.  So we have the right, the power, and the duty, to tell politicians to back off; all the way back to the constitutions.

Here’s a summary of what that means:

  1. Citizens can do whatever they want to as long as they don’t harm anybody else, or take what’s not theirs.
  2. We’d have no more government than necessary to maintain #1
  3. We invite others around the world to emulate our success, but otherwise leave them the heck alone.
  4. Your major civic duty is to disobey, invalidate and otherwise eliminate all unconstitutional taxes, mandates, organizations and agents.  Yes, civil disobedience is a duty. 

So caveat emptor would replace the FDA, FTC, FDIC, FCC and a zillion other F’agencies.  Common sense, family ties, competition, voluntary associations, charity and free market options galore would replace union/corporate monstrosities, Medicare, Social Security, lobbyists, regulations, litigation and price controls.  And because of the preceding, you get to keep what you earn, buy what you like (smoke it if you’re fool enough – and as long as you don’t blow it in my face), and live however and with whomever you want…as long as you leave others, and their stuff, alone.

No federal tooth fairies, no President coming down the chimney with presents, no more bogus political promises; just a reality proven to work better than anything else ever tried.

That may not be a Square Deal or a New Deal.  But it’s a fair deal, which makes it the best deal in all of human history. 

Can you live with that? 

People used to call that “freedom.”

And they liked it.


Just cleaning out my closet…

As always, I’d thought I’d had the best of intentions.  But, as always, my best ideas weren’t worth spit to anybody with money and power…

Here’s the first of a set of demo “Liberty Minute” segments I’d hoped somebody would air/sponsor/touch with a ten-foot-pole:

Liberty Minute #1

Another one

And another one

I had a whole bunch of them

But, to no avail. 


I really wish somebody would’ve taken me up on the liberty-themed bluegrass band (my banjo pickin’s rusty, but I could get my chops back), or the liberty-comedy videos, or the “Citizen Soapbox” night-out events, or the…

…well, none of those liberty-themed ideas worked.  Too much effort, I suppose. 

Perhaps we’re plunging toward our brutal default state because I just couldn’t get people excited about libertarian mime.  Maybe that whole constitutional ballet thing was badly conceived, but I’ll try anything if it promotes liberty and justice for all.

But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about liberty-based sports.  Americans know and care more about sports than anything else, apparently; and I’ve got this idea that’s a little like the winter games’ Biathlon, except without the skiing.  It’s even a little bit like football, in that things happen fast and you’ve got to know who’s on your side and who’s not. 

But it’s really like gladiator games or Ultimate Fighting, except these games are not in a stadium!

It’d be terribly exciting. 

OK, so just like other sports, there’s a possibility of serious injury or death.  Isn’t that part of the attraction?

But the prize for winning is liberty and justice for all! 

What could be more wholesome and fun?!?

…Anybody interested?

Eh…I suppose not.


What he should’ve said

I’m not breaking my vow to never blog again…I’m just sayin’ that our President’s speech was too long, and all wrong.

Here’s what he (or McConnell) should’ve said:

My fellow human beings, over the past hundred years, American voters have gradually surrendered their property, initiative, freedom and security to politicians, and that was a stupid thing to do.

Now our debts and fear/aggressions, crimes and perversions have grown so big and obvious that, frankly, I’m embarrassed that you still think that you can trust politicians with your life, liberty and pursuit of health insurance.  The whole point of our constitutions was to put a leash on politics, so that real people could live by their own choice, generosity, sweat and ingenuity.  But we rob you blind, tell you we saved you from worse, and you’re still voting for this two-headed, two-faced Demorepublicrat monster.

Dang, people.

It’s by your choice that those who’ve been right all along are called “fringe,” and most accurately, “loser;” while those who’ve been wrong, or worse, deceived you intentionally, are called “expert,” “wonk,” or of course, “The Honorable so and so.”

I cannot apologize for your choices, but I am truly sorry that we politicians did what comes natural to us, and that you still have much to suffer before our mess can be made right.

I’ve already said that I’d rather be a good one-term President than a mediocre two-timer.  So whether voters have learned from our collective mistakes or not, I now intend to do what’s right.

And what’s right is to recognize that, while any fool can wield power, only the great restrain it.

My fellow Americans, I am the President who will wean you off politics.

You want somebody to care for you?  Make some friends, join a church or voluntary service association, and raise a good family.  If you can’t get people to care for you voluntarily, I’m sure not going to sqeeze taxpayers for you.

As for a financial stimulus?  I will suggest that Congress gets double-pay to just stay home and leave you the heck alone.

About terrorism…we never should’ve gone weak-kneed over zealots with exploding underpants.

I’m telling all you red-blooded game hunters out there, that as of right now, it’s open season on terrorists.  Have at ’em, but of course try not to make too many mistakes.  You plug ’em, we’ll plant ’em.

Does that scare you?  If so, then you have no idea how much suffering currently takes place, even in the homes of our soldiers; and you have no idea how much our endless wars cost you in money, social disorder, freedom, security and opportunities lost forever.

Overnight, ordinary rednecks could end, and forever scare away terrorism, at a tiny fraction of the current cost in dollars, corruption and human life; and allow us to bring our troops home.  Not just from Afghanistan and Iraq, but from all over the world.  We’d no longer flex our muscles or play nanny on foreign soil, because the world would know that we are impenetrable here at home.

As far as job creation goes?

I know economics was supposed to be two-thirds of my speech.  But government is violence, not business.  Government is more about oppression, slavery, genocide and war than anything else it may pretend to be.  It never creates.  It cannot give without first taking.  You should never have let us rob Peter to pay Paul.  Not only is it morally wrong in its essence, but you should have known that you are not Paul.

To wrap this up, let me say that I have read the Constitution that I swore to uphold against all enemies, foreign and domestic; and I now aim to do just that, as written in both black, and white.  People have fought and died for this precious contract, and I will never again let anyone in my administration treat it with anything other than respect.

Then again, it’s up to you, American voters, to hold me to that.

Thank you, and may God bless us all.


A Short History of Health Care: Let Doctors Be Doctors

I just ran across this on another website.  It’s a column I wrote for Indiana Policy Review a couple of years ago that seems more appropriate than ever now.

A Short History of Health Care: Let Doctors Be Doctors
By Andrew Horning

Healthcare is an odd business in that it has always been both expensive and unpleasant. Until the 1920s, the average doctor couldn’t even help with the average ailment. While medicine then included a range of arts like phrenology, acupuncture, homeopathy and allopathy it really was a coin-toss whether you’d be saved or killed by a doctor’s work.

Then the 20’s brought insulin, sulfa, other “miracle” drugs and sterile fields that meant, for the first time, that healthcare actually worked more often than not. From there, doctors, scientists and medical engineers really took off; rapid advancements increased life expectancies and decreased suffering. And because of increasing effectiveness and supply, healthcare was even becoming cheaper in real cost-benefit terms.

However, politicians had nothing at all to do with this, and that was apparently a problem. Teddy Roosevelt proposed a German-style, cradle-to-grave “socialized” healthcare system, but it was assailed as “the Prussian Menace” in those anti-German years before WWI, and Teddy’s scheme died. Even so, politicians wanting to seem compassionate started promoting socialized healthcare. The July 1919 issue of the Insurance Monitor made this prescient assertion: “The opportunities for fraud upset all statistical calculations. . . . Health and sickness are vague terms open to endless construction. Death is clearly defined, but to say what shall constitute such loss of health as will justify insurance compensation is no easy task.”

No matter. Between The Revenue Act of 1939’s health-related tax breaks, and 1943, when the War Labor Board excluded employer-paid health insurance from its wage freeze, American politicians charged into health care on their favorite horse, income tax.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened: Tax breaks for employer-paid health insurance meant that health insurance became a part of employment, and insurance became an integral part of healthcare. This inserted middlemen, which of course made everything more expensive. But who cared? The tax-subsidized, payroll-deducted cost was invisible enough that Americans started using insurance to pay for routine visits, dental checkups, eyeglasses and even plastic surgery. Group insurance offered large corporations better plans than small companies could muster, giving large corporations even greater advantages in hiring and competition than corporate laws already gave them. This also meant that the poor, or worse, the self employed, were even further distanced from the rich and incorporated in a very serious way. Obviously this created problems, but politicians never admit error, do they?

Four days before Tax Day, 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower established the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, giving government even more direct control over some of humanity’s most precious commodities. More political money and power meant more reasons for businesses to make campaign contributions and lobby. Of course, politicians at every level of government have used healthcare policy to reward their friends and punish their enemies. That’s their stock in trade.

Now tax money and policy is sifted and sorted through political appointees, immortal bureaucracies and defense-contract-style arrangements to feed a dwindling number of profit-starved insurance companies who then deny your claim. Doctors hire legions of workers to manage the regulatory, litigative, and insurance paperwork hassles; or leave private practice to become an employee within a clerically staffed healthcare corporation. So healthcare is still both expensive and unpleasant. But now it’s only because politicians, not doctors, are practicing medicine. Our healthcare injustices and vital statistics have decayed into an embarrassment at just the time when technology should make healthcare cheap, effective and available to all.

It is hard to imagine what politicians could have done to make our healthcare situation any worse. Yet, according to a July 2006 Harris Poll, Americans rate the issue of healthcare well-behind Iraq, the economy, immigration and even gas prices. Even more strangely, most people now think we must, to some degree and by some unspecified method, “socialize” healthcare just as Europe, Canada and other nations are now scrambling back toward free market reforms. What are we thinking?

Let politicians have their way with Iraq, the Colts and toll roads. Let them run lotteries and practice voodoo. But please, let doctors do healthcare at last; they’ve earned the right.