A Healthy Diference of Opinion
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)
Porcupine dislikes it when authorities and sources he respects and enjoys take stances at odds with his. In the case of the Romney Health InsurancePlan, it is so, and Porcupine feels moved to discuss the plan as the Governor ponders it. Caveat - Porcupine has not read the entire 750 page confernece report, but is instead relying upon published accounts of how it would work.
Porcupine's friend Mr. Ogre is a full-out raging Libertarian, nay Social Darwinist, who is moved to fury by the new plan. His florid post (here) details his disgust with the health care package, and is mirrored in the stands of many other social conservatives. Porcupine gave him some background about the plan, and said that for once the solution wasn't higher taxes or soak the empoyers. Ogre countered, "By what right does the state claim my money at all? Why is it my obligation to take care of everyone else's medical care? You do not have a right to medical care, free or otherwise, in any free society, period. To claim that you have that right means that you have the right to the labor of another man -- and that's just completely wrong. If you take care of yourself, eat right, exercise, avoid smoking and high risk activities your whole life; but I do everything poorly, including many high risk activities, how it is right for me to force you to pay for my medical care? The people who are good and right are being forced to pay for those who are not -- and that's utterly and completely wrong."
The National Review Online (article HERE) echoes Ogre with more - um - restrained prose, and says, "Conservatives mostly understand the problems associated with the direct government provision of products and services Â poor quality, shortages, high taxes, and shoddy service. What they must also understand is that forcing an individual to purchase health insurance is merely a rest stop on the journey to the same destination [of universal single-payer alencompassingg government care]." They suggest that making insurance more affordable is the true answer, and then everybody would buy it. Porcupine thinks that a twenty-something with delusions of invincibility wouldn't buy a plan if it was as cheap as a mocha latte.
Both Ogre and the National Review are theorizing in a philosophical universe, rather than a real one. Ogre decries the plundering of the populace to pay for insurance - yet the populace is paying for that medical care now through the Uncompensated Care Pool. And while Ogre's remarks about fitness are certainly germane, they do not acknowledge the broken leg with the bone through the skin, or the lupus that strikes the vegetarian gymnast, or the virus that is transmitted by a person walking down the street - indeed, the scaffolding that falls and crushes a passing pedestrian as happened this week.
"Sorry, Peter, you're falling into that same liberal trap -- the trap that says government is good, no matter what it does, so if there's a problem, the solution MUST be more government -- and that is bad. No, armed robbery of citizens is NOT a good solution at all", wrote Ogre.
Sorry, Mr. Ogre, but YOU are falling into the conservative trap that any government mandate is in and of itself wrong because of the source. You can still make choices, but those choices will be made in a real world. You can buy insurance. You can buy insurance and have some premium subsidized if your income is low, with the subsidy dropping away as income rises. You can flat out refuse to buy insurance, in which case you must deposit $10,000 in an interest bearing escrow account with the state - the same way you can with auto insurance now - to cover hospital debt in the event of illness and inability to pay. If you do not have $10,000 and refuse to buy insuance anyway, your income tax refunds will be intercepted and placed in escrow until you either have the $10,000 or can demonstrate that you have coverage. You call it armed robbery - Porcupine calls it protection for the taxpayers from the feckless among us.
There is imagination in this. It is not a single payer plan (which is the only thing that will satisfy some pseudo-European social engineers among us), but it allows individual choice and requires individual responsibility. Porcupine hopes that Governor Romney will quickly sign this bill, and make us all look into the mirror, and make our own choices according to what we all see.