Republicans And The Health Insurance Mandate

A lot of Republicans, including those quixotic House reactionaries, are talking these days about killing the Affordable Care Act. Much of the opposition to the law is centered on the provision that requires individuals to purchase health insurance.  Here in Missouri, Proposition C overwhelmingly passed in August of last year, the purpose of which was to thwart the imposition on Missourians of the health insurance mandate. 

The argument goes something like this: If people want to buy health insurance, it’s up to them, and in the words of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, “they should not have it imposed upon them by government.”

Fair enough. Most of us don’t like to be forced to do things. We prefer the voluntary approach.  But when you ask folks like Orrin Hatch about what to do with people who don’t want to buy insurance and inevitably show up at hospitals looking for treatment and without money to pay, the usual reply goes something like this: Well, we can garnish their wages, if they have any, and make them pay that way.

Huh?

You mean it’s okay to set up a situation in which such people won’t be forced to purchase insurance out of some high-minded principle, but when they show up at hospital emergency rooms to obtain the most expensive care possible and without money to pay, we won’t hesitate—through the force of law—to take the money anyway?

Does anyone see a not-so-slight contradiction in that argument?

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9 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  January 7, 2011

    Duane,

    Have you ever seen, read or heard a political discussion without contradictions somewhere? Now back to my serious blog. Ha!

    Anson

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  2. “If people want to buy health insurance, it’s up to them, and in the words of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, “they should not have it imposed upon them by government.”

    What about car insurance? I wonder if Hatch supports that?

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    • Exactly. And the rationale for forcing folks to purchase car insurance is the same.

      Duane

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    • Eric

       /  February 21, 2011

      Actually mandatory car insurance is to protect others from the harm you might do to them or their property. If your car is still owned by the a bank or some finance company and not fully paid for, that company can also require you to carry insurance to protect their investment.

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      • Eric,

        The point is that mandatory car insurance is analogous to mandatory health insurance. It is a way to help ensure people are responsible citizens.

        Duane

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  January 8, 2011

    What a an old argument, government requires auto insurance so why not health insurance. Com’on, even you guys have heard that rejoiner.

    You must buy auto insurance to use government (public) roads. Don’t use the roads and you don’t have to buy the insurance.

    Now how about a law that says you don’t have to buy health insurance but if you don’t have it then don’t use any public health services?

    Na, that won’t work I suppose.

    Anson

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  4. “What a an old argument, government requires auto insurance so why not health insurance.”

    Just because an argument’s old doesn’t mean that it isn’t applicable or true. All that’s necessary is that rings true and directly correlates to the debate at hand. I suppose being a republican health care liability for your car is more important than it is for humans.

    “ou must buy auto insurance to use government (public) roads.”

    Government “public roads” Anson? Ha Ha Ha!! Do you know what an oxymoron is (and no it’s not a really stout dim witted laborer)? Would you rather continue to pay out of pocket for the uninsured who lineup daily 24/7 hospitals all across the country? I don’t think that you have a clue as to what our GDP health care costs are compared to other countries and if you do (which I doubt) then you know that we have the most expensive health care system in the world and we still have about one in seven of our people uncovered.

    “Now how about a law that says you don’t have to buy health insurance but if you don’t have it then don’t use any public health services?”

    That’s essentially what’s happening now except that all of them go in with the promise to pay but can’t. Many of the uninsured attempt to self-medicate or treat themselves often until a disease has become life threatening are far more difficult and expensive to treat. Once that happens then being able to pay is no longer part of the debate. We treat them because we are a good people and the cost is then distributed out to those of us who can pay in higher health care costs for ourselves.

    For a so called fiscally responsible party Republicans are just downright stupid when it comes making to take any real fiscally responsible measures. I will however be willing to reconsider requiring people to purchase health care if all of the registered Republicans agree to pay all health care expense increases that are incurred in our hospital emergency rooms.

    “Na, that won’t work I suppose.”

    This the sensible statement you’ve made in this entire debate.

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    • Well said. And I might add that the fact people have to drive on public roads has nothing to do with why they are required to purchase auto insurance. It is so that people won’t skimp on insurance protection, either because they can’t afford it or because they think they won’t need it, and then have an accident and can’t pay for the damage. The mandate to purchase insurance is designed to protect all drivers, like all good socialist policies do!

      Duane

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