“What constitutes a state? . . .
Men who their duties know,
but know their rights,
and knowing, dare maintain.”

Sir William Jones

Living in the deep south means being exposed to many people who exhibit a lot of righteous indignation. Alabama’s motto, “We Dare Defend Our Rights,” demonstrates many of the attributes that a southern state motto should. It is us against them, right against wrong, but prone to being a meaningless collection of words. That is, unless, someone is willing to identify when these rights are being violated and mobilize Alabamians to  jump to our defense. Fortunately, we have such a visionary in the person of Representative Blaine Galliher, R-Gadsden. He has seen a clear violation of our Alabama given rights and he has devised a strategy for our protection.

Representative Galliher has filed a bill that would prevent the federal government from dictating to Alabama residents what health care programs to participate in.

“The crux of it is that the federal government can’t tell you in advance to buy a certain type of coverage,” Galliher said. Galliher sponsored a similar bill in 2009, but it died without coming up for a vote in the then Democrat-controlled House Health Committee. A similar bill passed the Senate last year, but died in the House.

The bill has a much better chance this year than in previous years because of the Republican control of both houses and the Governor’s mansion in Alabama.

In fairness to Governor Bentley, while his party tries to defend the rights of our citizens to avoid prepayment for health related costs, he is working to create Health Insurance Exchanges, saying

“I want to lower the cost of health insurance in Alabama and have more competition and allow more insurance carriers to write insurance in Alabama. I was for having an insurance exchange even if we did not have the passage of the national health care bill.”

I have a suggestion for those who want to defend our rights that at least will allow us to be intellectually consistent. In the New Republic, Johnathon Chait quotes from a 2004 article in Reason regarding the individual mandate. As I have already written, our health care system performs very well at delivering heroic care to avoid the messy situation of people dying in the street, as illustrated by the great philosopher Monty Python here. As discussed in the Reason article, perhaps we should allow Alabamians to accept the full consequences of their actions. Those who want to truly defend their rights could do so by wearing a bracelet stating: “‘In case of an accident, do not take me to the nearest hospital. I’ve made my choice.”

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