The myths about the Affordable Care Act are multiplying on editorial pages. This SCTimes editorial is a good picture of those myths being amplified:
Too many partisan politicians are (again) being allowed to frame a key part of federal health care reform in a misleading, even irrelevant ideological perspective.
These folks proclaim the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate to carry health insurance is an erosion of our personal freedoms. Then they couple it with a dead-end conversation about whether it’s a tax or fine on all people. It’s not all people; just those who don’t choose (but can afford) insurance.
President Obama has gotten into the habit of calling people freeloaders if they’ll be affected by the individual mandate. That’s a disgusting, dishonest characterization. Since when has the government had the authority to tell car owners that their car insurance had to have specific coverages?
Here’s a little dose of reality. The government doesn’t have the authority to tell people that they have to buy a policy that includes collision, theft, fire, liability and comprehensive coverages.
Yet that’s exactly what the individual mandate does. It says that people who don’t buy the health insurance policy that the government dictates will pay the individual mandate tax.
Imagine this: as a result of the Affordable Care Act, a couple that bought a high-deductible policy, then pays for routine checkups and doctor visits, is subject to the individual mandate tax because their policy didn’t meet the federal government’s minimum coverages.
In other words, people that did the right thing in buying their own health insurance are a) being called freeloaders by President Obama and b) subject to a hefty tax because they didn’t do exactly what President Obama dictated to them to do.
If that doesn’t sound like the actions of an autocratic government, then it’s time people read the definition of autocrat:
- an absolute ruler, especially a monarch who holds and exercises the powers of government as by inherent right, not subject to restrictions.
- a person invested with or claiming to exercise absolute authority.
- a person who behaves in an authoritarian manner; a domineering person.
This statement is particularly irritating:
These folks proclaim the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate to carry health insurance is an erosion of our personal freedoms.
First, the Supreme Court’s ruling carries with it an erosion of each person’s liberty. If people want to argue that we’re burdened whether we purchase the health insurance the government tells us to purchase or pay a massive tax, that’s an intellectually honest argument. It’s disgusting but it’s intellectually honest.
Second, who appointed the Supreme Court to be the arbiters of personal liberties? They have the right to tell us if something’s constitutional. They don’t have the authority to ignore the Constitution even when an administration attempts to ignore it.
Regardless of Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion, the Tenth Amendment says that the things that the federal government isn’t responsible for are the responsibility of the states and the people. Here’s another BS section from the editorial:
If your core objection is all about choice vs. force, you really only have to answer two questions before you propose your alternative plan. First, if people are allowed to choose no insurance, how are they going to pay their medical bills, especially when those bills exceed their savings account?
Will they turn over their cars, homes and even assets of other relatives to pay bills? And when that’s not enough (which it won’t be in many cases), how will they cover the remainder? Last I checked, indentured servitude wasn’t exactly legal, which brings us to paying the ultimate price, shall we say, human foreclosure?
The first question doesn’t think about liberty because it accepts a faulty premise. It’s bad enough when government tells people they have to buy health insurance. It’s worse when government tells people that that health insurance policy is subject to a massive tax if it doesn’t include the coverages that they insist people buy.
Minnesota state statutes include 68 mandates for health insurance, each one adding costs to the insurance policy. If government didn’t initially impose 68 mandates to be included in each health insurance policy, more people would buy health insurance because it wouldn’t be too expensive. If people were allowed to buy high-deductible policies that included coverage for catastrophic health events, the premise for the first question disintegrates. Ditto with the second, sarcastic argument.
The problem with this type of editorial is that it deals with what is rather than what should be. Saying that we have to comply with a fatally flawed law is technically true as a matter of law. It’s downright stupid to say that we shouldn’t try repealing a law that a) doesn’t contain health care costs, b) doesn’t control increases in health insurance premiums, c) doesn’t give people sensible health insurance options and d) limits people’s freedom.
Questions like that probably limit the number of invites I get to dinner parties. But they get to the cold-hearted realities about the “mandated coverage” debate, which many see as the center of this health reform act.
It’s disappointing that educated people wouldn’t think this issue through better than this. The Affordable Care Act is a solution at financial gunpoint. It isn’t a solution. It’s a way to bankrupt this nation.
It’s disgusting that a government thinks it can impose unconstitutional, stupid laws on people who’ve tried to do the right thing. It’s more disgusting to think that people start from the default positions that a) liberty is a frivolous thing and b) money is more important than liberty. People who are more worried about money than liberty soon won’t have either.