There's been a lot of discussion about Sen. Hillary Clinton's proposal to mandate health coverage for all Americans, including garnishing wages in order to force individuals to pay for coverage. This New York Times article gives some details of the plan and the potential payments and penalties.
But here's the question that everyone seems to miss in the discussion.
According to the article, "But about 20 percent of the uninsured have household incomes of $75,000 or more, according to the Census Bureau, meaning they presumably can afford coverage but prefer to take the risk."
Why is it never mentioned by the candidates that many people without health insurance make a conscious decision to forego such coverage? And, if this is a decision they've made, why must we force them to have insurance?
The other part of this involves access to coverage. If there are 20% of uninsured who choose not to have coverage, it means that they have access and choose not to take advantage of it. Many younger workers in good health often decide that the cost of insurance isn't worth the coverage that they do not need.
So the issue isn't really that such individuals don't have access to health services or that they cannot afford such health services - they just choose to not enroll.
And I'd wish that any discussion of the 'uninsured in America' would include the fact that some of the 'uninsured' are that way by choice.
Nanny-state proponents object to such a choice. Some justify forced insurance by saying that individuals without health insurance rely upon public funding when they get sick and need more expensive health services. The solution to that scenario is to not allow them such financial assistance. If they choose to back a bad financial decision, they can suffer the consequences. Individual liberty and responsibility demand no less.
In a country founded upon freedoms - including the freedom to make bad decisions - we contradict what made us a great nation when we force people to have insurance (or anything else) they do not want or need. We then compound the problem when we subsidize the costs of that forced service for low-income earners by forcibly taking (via taxation) from others who'd be better off keeping their own earnings to pay for their own services.
When did this concept become acceptable in America?