So, this is going to be pretty much in the nature of a rant.
The Washington Post carried a story today by Dana Milbank titled “Apparently repealing Obamacare could violate international law”:
The United Nations has contacted the Trump administration as part of an investigation into whether repealing the Affordable Care Act without an adequate substitute for the millions who would lose health coverage would be a violation of several international conventions that bind the United States. It turns out that the notion that “health care is a right” is more than just a Democratic talking point.
A confidential, five-page “urgent appeal” from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva, sent to the Trump administration, cautions that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act could put the United States at odds with its international obligations. The Feb. 2 memo, which I obtained Tuesday, was sent to the State Department and expresses “serious concern” about the prospective loss of health coverage for almost 30 million people, which could violate “the right to social security of the people in the United States.”
Okay, this is the short form of the rant: How dare they!?
But let me elaborate. The argument here appears to be that having passed the ACA, revising it in any way that causes a net decrease in the number of people covered is a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Now, here are some of the human rights this supposedly guarantees:
So, everyone is supposed to be guaranteed a “standard of living adequate for the health and well-being, including food, medical care, and necessary social services….”
This “confidential” letter was apparently sent by fax to the U.S. charge d’affaires at the UN in Geneva. Mysteriously, no one at the State Department seems to know about it; the only provenance Milbank offers is that some mysterious Department of Health and Human Services staffer shared it with “congressional Democratic leadership.”
So, I’m curious — do you suppose we could get copies of the similar letter sent to, oh, Venezuela about their food-supply problems? Cuba, about their two-tier health system? Hell, how about the mysterious way Russian opponents of Vladimir Putin develop radiation poisoning and suicidal tendencies?
I didn’t think so.
I’m not a big fan of the UN anyway, but this is just outrageous. And this “international law” appeal is hardly the only one — we regularly her accusations that the U.S. is violating international law when a drone strike kills family members — but beheading live captives, or burning them alive, or drowning them, as Daesh is wont to do? Nothing.
Th fact is that these rules are only applied when it’s convenient to people who want to attack the United States government. In this case, what are the odds, do you suppose, that this unnamed HHS staffer made the original complaint, and the letter was passed back along by the UN?
So, I’ve got an idea: how about a special new office within State, or in the White House, with a rubber stamp? When one of these complaints comes in, they stamp it with “Sod off,” and return it registered mail, return receipt.