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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Get Rid of the Mandate

I have argued before that the focus on the public option, while necessary, missed the key defect in Democratic health care restructuring plans. The problem is the health care mandate, which by the way, Barack Obama opposed during the campaign.

The mandate that every individual carry health insurance under threat of punitive taxes is a corrosive tool which changes the way we understand taxation. For the first time, we will tax people not on their economic activity, but on their failure to engage in economic activity. While arguments over whether such a tax is constitutional are interesting, the real issue is political.

Do we want to empower the government to use its taxing powers to force people to take action? If the right to be left alone is a foundation of our liberty, are we willing to jettison that foundation? If taxation is the means to achieving a health care mandate, are we prepared to have the IRS play the role of health care enforcer?

There is no current equivalent. While many states impose mandatory auto insurance requirements in order to drive, individuals have the alternative of not driving. With the health care mandate there is no alternative. If you exist, you either obtain "acceptable" health insurance coverage or you are taxed.

The public option merely is necessary to make a mandate work. Many people will not be able to afford private insurance, particularly once the government defines acceptable insurance to include so many benefits as to raise the cost prohibitively.

The public option, which inevitably will be subsidized, provides the catch basin for the mandate runoff. As more and more employers opt for taxation instead of coverage, and as the ranks of those facing individual taxation rise, more and more people will be forced into the public option.

But the public option is the symptom of the mandate disease, not the other way around. It is not surprising, therefore, that attention had turned once again to getting rid of the mandate.

The debate over the mandate is a debate we need to have. It goes to the very heart of who and what we are as a nation. If we can mandate health insurance under threat of taxation, then there is no limit to what else can be mandated under the threat of taxes.

It is time to get rid of the disease, not just treat the symptom. It is time to get rid of the mandate from the Democratic health care restructuring plans.

Related Posts:
IRS The New Health Care Enforcer
Taxing Your Mere Existence
Hillary Had A Mandate For Mandates

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  1. Well, it's time to get rid of the Democratic health care restructuring plans, but the mandate will do for a start. The chutzpah and arrogance of these Congresscritters know no bounds. So far the GOP seems to be holding firm on this one and the Dems are nonplussed. Good!

  2. For years -- for decades, actually -- I've listened to liberals whine and complain about the horrible injustice of having some 40 million Americans "uninsured" and "at risk" of being financially ruined by a catastrophic illness.

    So now that they have control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, what is their solution to this terrible injustice? Their solution is to put a gun to the heads of these 40 million and FORCE them to buy health insurance! Some solution!

    Sure, the "public option" is there to cushion the blow, but this nevertheless demonstrates beyond all doubt that the liberals are motivated strictly by a desire for power over the lives of others, NOT by any desire to "help" the "less fortunate".

    And since "liberals" no longer care a whit about indivdual "liberty" in any shape, form or fashion -- since all they care about is staying in power by looting the taxpayers and buying votes -- they should at least have the grace to stop calling themselves "liberals" and switch to the much more honest term of "looterals".

  3. Not only do I strongly object to the individual mandate, but I also strongly object to some faceless federal government bureaucrat deciding for me and my insurance company if my insurance is "acceptable" or not. Federal government interference in the right to contract. Unbelievable!

  4. Notice that the bills refer to the mandate as an "individual" responsibility. But, they are taking the responsibility away from the individual and giving it to the federal government. Typical "nanny state" stuff.

  5. This is a very dangerous period because Nationalization will still occur even without an overt government run insurance plan like this "public option" provision everyone keeps fixating on - everything else contained in the plan is just as dangerous and is not being discussed in any kind of a targeted manner.

    Here are the core elements what will be contained in the “health care reform compromise” after the so-called “public option” is in all likelihood dropped; both the Bacus and Wyden-Bennett bill contain all of these items:

    (a) Federal Regulation aka HEALTH CZAR/DEATH PANELS/RATIONING
    (b) Employer/Individual Mandates aka NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE
    (c) Government Subsidies aka MIDDLE CLASS MEDICAL WELFARE

    With the Federal Government setting the rules, forcing everyone to participate, and is paying the bills for most of the middle class through subsidies how is this anything other than Nationalization?

    And it’s clearly a government take-over of health care – only the names are changed to make us feel better about the arrangement. Since the government will be controlling the market and setting the terms, health insurance companies will essentially quasi-governmental agencies that get to administer the plan. They will be controlled in the same manner as GM or CITIGROUP and will be private in name only.

    The common thread in all of the so-called "compromise" or bi-partisan plans is the Individual Mandate to force people to buy government dictated health insurance. This needs to be the focus for conservatives now!

    I would strongly advocate to conservatives in the Media/GOP elected officials that they stress three very simple messages:

    (1) The Individual Mandates need to be opposed and need to be the center piece of the opposition message - they are the most political unpopular feature of the Obamacare plan and they hold the whole scheme. Simply put, there is no government takeover without Mandates.

    (2) Health Insurance Companies need to be called out for receiving Bailout money and a Monopoly Market. Health Insurance execs are politically unpopular and this would put the GOP/Opponents on the side of the people and not the special interests. We conservatives have a responsibility to defend the concept of insurance and free markets but not the current government and special interest distorted market.

    (3) Obamacare is a corrupt bargain that benefits big government, powerful Washington politicians, big union, and big companies/industry at the expense (once again) of the taxpayer, small business, the elderly, and the young.

    Particularly, Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate need to understand this as many of the “compromise” plans being discussed contain all of these elements. They need to be forced to go on record as not only opposing the “government option” but these Employer/Individual Mandates too before they fall into the trap of thinking they are acceptable and not government run health care.
    Individual Mandates to buy private insurance sound like a “free market” solution and “individual responsibility” but in this context they are not – they are simply a front for a government run system. Again, the common thread in every liberal/statist health care bill is the Individual Mandate. To see it in action, look no further then how these Mandates in MA work to give government full control and to skyrocket costs. Many conservatives can be easily fooled by this faux “private” front (Mitt Romney was) – there needs to be united conservative opposition to Mandates now!

  6. I very much appreciate all Conservative’s and other dedicated American’s continued focus and analysis on what is happening in the so-called Health Care reform debate.

    Unfortunately, all of us who oppose Obamacare may be too late politically to stop this from happen unless the public can be alerted to what is going on right now.

    A big event took place yesterday that went just about unnoticed by the all in the media save for the alarm over jail time brought out by Senator Ensign (good catch by him!)…..

    The Individual Mandate provisions were kept in the Bacus Bill by the Senate Finance Committee on a near party line vote which makes some form of Obamacare phoney “compromise” highly likely now…

    And unfortunately, it was a R who broke ranks with her party….guess who?

    Well, the cat is out of the bag - Senator Snowe voted to keep the individual mandate so its very likely that she and the blue dogs will sell us out on the Bacus bill or Wyden-Bennett fake compromises.....


    Contrary to popular opinion in the media, the Individual Mandate, not the so-called public option is the key to stopping Obamcare in its tracks. Stop the Individual Mandate and the whole bill will unravel for lack of funding and mandatory participation in the scheme!

    Her is what happened yesterday….

    Senator Bunning offered an Amendment in the Finance committee today to kill the Individual Mandate in the Bacus bill - it failed by 14-9 vote - a bad result for stopping Obamacare.....

    All R’s except Snowe voted Against the Individual Mandate…..

    All D’s voted for it....of course…..

    This is NOT a good result......If Snowe voted for it, then she is likely to vote for a Fake "compromise" bill with mandates.....and will vote for closure with D.....

    Well, the true supporters of some version of Obamacare cant hide now - they will push the defacto takeover with the Individual Mandate!

    This is a very dangerous period because Nationalization will still occur even without an overt government run insurance plan like this "public option" provision everyone keeps fixating on - Wyden/Bennett and the Bacus bill are prime examples of this.

    Here are the core elements what will be contained in the “health care reform compromise” after the so-called “public option” is in all likelihood dropped:

    (a) Federal Regulation aka HEALTH CZAR/DEATH PANELS
    (b) Employer/Individual Mandates aka NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE
    (c) Government Subsidies aka MIDDLE CLASS MEDICAL WELFARE

    With the Federal Government setting the rules, forcing everyone to participate, and is paying the bills for most of the middle class through subsidies how is this anything other than Nationalization?

    Here is a great link from a CATO study by Michael Cannon about how the takeover will work without a public option or COOP:


    People need to be up in arms about this - they need to Flood Senator Snowe's email, etc to get her to change this vote NOW!

    Someone in the GOP Senate caucus also needs to talk some sense into Senator Snowe immediately too!

    Also, the so-called "blue dogs" need to be targeted too - they need to know we are on to their support for a de facto takeover.....

    We are in bad shape I fear now - Rahm E is likely right and we are on track to pass this so-called "bi-partisan compromise" - but at least we know what is going on now and can mount a reaction....

  7. The conservative print media has had several great features and is leading the charge against the Obamacare bill but he has spoken out directly against these Individual Mandates - I just wish the rest of the conservative media would get a clue and catch on soon before its too late....

    We should be attacking these Individual Mandates daily on radio and TV TOO! Conservatives - please continue to do your utmost to alert the conservative media and the GOP Senators and Representatives about what is going on here with Obamacare!

    This is the "bridge over" or foot in the water they need to get to fully socialized medicine!

    And the Individual Mandate should be an easy target for conservatives and the GOP to attack since Obama has done a huge 180 from his campaign promises!

    From the mouth of then Candidate Obama:

    “If you look at auto insurance, in California there’s mandatory auto insurance,” Obama explained. “Twenty-five percent of the folks don’t have it. The reason is because they can’t afford it. So John and I, we’re not that different in this sense; that I’m committed to starting the process. Everybody who wants it can buy it and it’s affordable. If we have some gaps remaining, we will work on that. You take it from the opposite direction, but you’re still going to have some folks who aren’t insured under your plan, John, because some of them will simply not be able to afford to buy the coverage they’re offered.”

    Can we see some flip-flop or liar adds please? The debate where he said this is on Video – why isn’t this on Fox, commercials, etc and juxtaposed to his current statements where he literally gushes over in his praise for using government force to compel you to buy a private product against your will?

    Why are we blowing this golden opportunity to stop Obamacare in its tracks?

    I hope we can pick up the pace here - a 1000 year reign of socialized medicine would not be good for anyone's health.