Addressing Planned Parenthood last week, President Obama made what must be one of the least self-aware statements of his tenure. "Forty years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman's constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose, we shouldn't have to remind people that when it comes to a woman's health, no politician should get to decide what's best for you," he said. "No insurer should get to decide what kind of care that you get. The only person who should get to make decisions about your health is you."
It's no secret that Obama supports a woman's right to choose, in consultation with her doctor, whether getting an abortion is appropriate. Contrary to his rhetoric, however, Obama doesn't believe that American women should alone be empowered to decide what's best for their health as a general matter. However emphatically he proclaims the opposite, Obama verily believes that politicians like him ought to interfere in myriad decisions about personal medical care. It is illegitimate for him to invoke the language of liberty to score points on this set of issues.
If "the only person who should get to make decisions about your health is you," why has Obamacare mandated that all Americans buy health insurance, whether they want it or not? Why isn't he championing the right of people to decide, with their doctors, to take medical marijuana? Why does he favor laws that prohibit kidney donors from being compensated for their organ? Why does he favor FDA rules that prevent sick people who want to try new drugs from doing so until the drugs have gone through a lengthy approval process? If "no insurer should get to decide what kind of care that you get," why does he favor a federal panel that would evaluate treatments covered by Medicare and stop reimbursing doctors for the ones deemed ineffective or less effective than alternatives, regardless of what a patient and her doctor wanted?