Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Individual Mandate is Evil [UPDATED]

The other day, I had breakfast with an old friend and mentor. In the course of discussing ObamaCare, he asked me which part I considered the most egregious. I think I surprised him when I said it wasn't coverage for abortions or illegal aliens, or even the so-called "Public Option" which most offended me.

It's the individual mandate.

Now, one might think that, because I sell insurance for a living, I'd be all for a law that required folks to buy what I sell. But I'm an American first, and I find this particular idea repugnant and, frankly, unAmerican. Here's why:

There is no precedent for requiring us to buy a product or service simply for living. There are those who argue, incorrectly, that we're required to buy automobile insurance. But they neglect to finish the sentence: "if one chooses to own and/or operate a car." Many folks go through life relying on public or alternate transportation, never having the need or requirement to buy auto insurance. But there are no choices here: simply being alive would require one to buy insurance.

Second, this is far beyond a slippery slope: if the government can require you to buy something you don't need or want, then it can require you to do anything. There simply is no limit.

Third, a friend of mine recently raised a First Amendment issue: what about those folks who, because of their religion, don't use medical services? Would Scientologists and the Amish (for example) be exempted from this requirement? If not, then they're paying for something that they cannot use due to their faith. This is a gross infringement on their 1st Amendment rights. If they are exempt, then how many folks will join (or claim to join) one of these faiths in order to avoid the mandate, and how would that square with its goals?

There is just no valid case to be made for such a law, and its adoption would be a very, very bad thing.

UPDATE: It appears that the most egregious penalties vis: the Individual Mandate have beentoned down in Dr Harry's version of ObamaCare:

‘‘(C) INDEXING OF AMOUNT.—In the case
5 of any calendar year beginning after 2017, the
6 applicable dollar amount shall be equal to $750,
7 increased by an amount equal to—
8 ‘‘(i) $750, multiplied by
9 ‘‘(ii) the cost-of-living adjustment de
10 termined under section 1(f)(3) for the cal
11 endar year, determined by substituting
12 ‘calendar year 2016’ for ‘calendar year
13 1992’ in subparagraph (B) thereof.
14 If the amount of any increase under clause (i)
15 is not a multiple of $50, such increase shall be
16 rounded to the next lowest multiple of $50

In other words, a penalty far less than called for by Nurse Nancy's edition.

And it also appears that they've dropped the threat of jail-time:

—In the case of any failure
12 by a taxpayer to timely pay any tax imposed by this
13 section—
14 ‘‘(A) such taxpayer shall not be subject to
15 any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect
16 to such failure,"

That subsection goes on to say that penalties will be that the gummint gets to keep any tax refunds, that kind of thing.

On the other hand, it will still be illegal to choose to be uninsured. So the principle that one will be required to buy insurance remains unchanged.

And here I thought these guys were pro-choice.

[Update Hat Tip: Ace of Spades]
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