A week ago, the Democrats in Congress pushed through a massive change to the nation’s health care policies.  The details are still being haggled over, and some states are gearing up to fight the thing.

But it’s in place, and its effects are already being felt.  There is a ten percent tax on tanning sessions starting in July.  AT&T is writing off a billion dollars in March because of changes to how it can deduct health care benefits.  Starting in September, parents will be able to keep their children on the family insurance plan through age 25 (and exactly when will these kids become adults?  Almost as if the government is encouraging them to stay dependents longer.  Not that I’m suggesting that the government is seeking to train them to be dependent instead of independent, although it sure has that foul odor.).  In 2011, insurance companies will be mandated to offer a refund to customers if the companies spend less than 80% on benefits to those insured.  I had heard of (but cannot locate a link for) people showing up at hospitals and emergency rooms last Monday asking for their “free health care”.

On the bright side, page 1617 of the health care bill mandates a study on the effectiveness of health care practices.  Depending on how transparent, open, and truly scientific the process is, this could have big benefits.  If it turns into a rubber stamp location, it’s a waste of $500 million.  A year.

While all this is being fought out in the courtrooms across the land, what will the Obama administration attack next?  Smart money is pointing to immigration reform.  If Obama could turn these 12 to 20 million people into voters before 2012’s election, he could stand a chance at winning again.

There are other subjects up for consideration – like getting rid of the automobile.

This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of nonmotorized.

That from Ray LaHood, Obama’s transportation secretary.  The government already wants to take oversight of subway and light rail safety from the states.

If big government can ram through health care overhaul, what’s to stop them from forcing some sort of carbon cap and trade on us?  After all, it’s for our own good.  If we’re so silly as to not be able to make our own choices and take the consequences, shouldn’t they do it for us?  After all, we voted them in to take care of us, didn’t we?  Actually, no we didn’t.  We voted them in to represent us.  And unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be happening real well.  And yet, this from president-elect Obama on November 18, 2008:

Few challenges facing America — and the world — are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We’ve seen record drought, spreading famine and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season…. And once I take office, you can be sure that the United States will once again engage vigorously in these [UN climate] negotiations, and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change.

So I wouldn’t count that out.

There’s always federal interference in our food choices.  They’re planning on dictating what schools can stock in vending machines.  Where’s the room for choice in what kids eat?

I agree with the choice for the feds to cut down on kids smoking.  I don’t agree with the prohibition in there on tobacco brand-name sponsorship of any “athletic, musical or other social or cultural event.”  I miss the Winston Cup in NASCAR, and can’t believe that it forced all that many people to start smoking.

To finish off this soapbox post, I want to address the potential confusion some may have when I am pro-choice on junk food and anti-choice on abortion.  I don’t see any variance.  Eating a candy bar does not directly harm another person.  Abortion kills a human being.  A Snickers bar is a choice.  Killing a baby is murder.  Both can have downstream consequences – some tied back to the health care thing mentioned above, some from the consequences of having almost fifty million fewer people in this country – but the immediate consequences are massive.  With one, you weigh six ounces more.  With the other, you have blood guilt on your hands.  I understand that abortion is at the end of a chain of choices, many of which could have been made better.  Abortion is also a choice that could be made better.

I’m not condemning people who have had abortions, or the doctors that perform them, or the boyfriends/husbands/whoever that participated in the pregnancy.  Judging is God’s territory.  I feel comfortable calling abortion a sin, and I feel safe saying that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  If you have had an abortion, or are considering one, contact a Pregnancy Care center.  They offer options and can give help, even after an abortion.  And remember always that God is merciful and compassionate, and loves you.

In it all, there is hope.