July 08--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.
Think reality, not ideology. People should be asking themselves these questions:
? As an individual, what are you prepared to pay if you choose not to carry insurance?
? As a country, what are we willing to do (or not do) for those people when that happens?
Enough with unsubstantiated claims about government taking over health care and people no longer being able to make their own choices. (Like the private sector doesn't limit your choices now.)
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?
Gulp. Yes. Death.
Sorry to be the morbid jerk here, but if you don't carry insurance and find yourself needing more medical care than your money and assets can provide, are you willing to make the ultimate final payment? Never mind that modern medicine -- through a modest insurance policy -- could save your life.
More than patient
Of course, in a civil society, that question also gets posed to more than just the patient. Their family and friends probably want a say, not to mention those on the treatment end of your predicament. Would all of them be willing to let you die?
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.
Is it a perfect answer? Probably not. But until I hear a better one, it seems more than reasonable -- especially when the alternatives are the rest of us paying the medical bills of those who opt out, or those people potentially paying with their lives should they incur medical bills beyond their ability to pay.
Again, do you really want to make this a battle about retaining your freedom to choose, even if that choice costs you your life?
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