Monday, March 29, 2010

I Gotta Buy WHAT?!

Now wait just a minute. You're telling me I HAVE to buy health insurance? Really!? But what if I don't want to? What if I don't need it? What if I can't afford it--or I have other priorities? Say I'd rather self-insure; pay as I go? You, my fellow citizen, are going to use the full force and power of the United States government to MAKE me buy health insurance because YOU think it's better for everybody? Who do you think you are? What if I buy it but you don't like the brand I buy or you don't think I bought enough? Will you make me buy more? What's gonna stop you if we open this door?

See, this is pretty extreme stuff. We're talking about the federal government walking into my home (or yours) and forcing me to buy something at the point of a gun. Hyperbole? No! Not really. Because to enforce this little gem they're gonna add 16,000 new IRS agents who will make it their business to verify whether or not you're writing checks to an insurance provider or receiving benefits through your employer or whatever. Then, if you're not, they'll have to have some kind of enforcement mechanism. They might take it out of your tax refund. Or if you owe no taxes or have no refund coming, they'll fine you. If you don't pay the fine they'll doubtless add penalties, fees, interest or whatever, and then, if you still don't buy the insurance or pay the fine, they'll have to attach your bank accounts, confiscate your property or send the police to haul you off to jail. They'll HAVE to or else the law will have no effect. Oh, but THAT would never happen! *wink wink* this cool with you? I mean, you're upset if the government wants to tap your phone if they deem it necessary to stop a terrorist attack. THAT bothers you. Is this any less of an invasion of your personal liberty and privacy? And while only those involved in nefarious activities should be apprehensive about being wire tapped, the healthcare police will now be surveiling EVERYONE to make sure we all have this one product that no one can live without! Or that it's unfair to live without. What?!

I'm a little amazed that so many Americans are yawning about the new, outrageous, unprecedented move on the part of the federal government to force citizens to purchase a product? No matter what the product is or what excuse they have for forcing you to buy it at the point of a gun. If you open this door, what's next? Birth control for people they don't think are fit to have kids? Diet pills for fat people? Dance lessons for the rythmically challenged?

And don't give me the argument about auto insurance. That's a straw man. First, auto insurance is NOT a federal mandate. It is mandated and enforced at the state level. Second, it is mandated in exchange for the privilege of driving as regulated by the several states. Third, you don't have to buy it. You can walk, ride a bike, bum rides, take a cab, or use public transit. You have a choice! And finally, it's clearly in your self-interest to purchase because driving is inherently a high-risk activity that carries a probability that you will, at some point, injure yourself or others incurring a financial liability that could be ruinous--the same kind of liability that drives most people to at least want health insurance.

Finally, the free market--yes, glorious capitalism--left unshackled by overly aggressive mandates, restrictions, and regulations A) has already given us the best healthcare in the world and B) will solve the cost and coverage issues with broader competition, TORT reform, innovative products and smart regulation targeted at specific cost and availability objectives. Comprehensive reform--a politically driven giant step towards the stated objective of a single payer system is not the answer for America. What say ye?

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