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You can’t get less individual than the ‘individual mandate’

by Becky Akers

A single sentence from a pro-Affordable Care Act report in the pro-Affordable Care Act The Los Angeles Times damns Obummercare as a failure: “The risk [of rising prices for medical insurance and of insurers withdrawing from the ‘exchanges’] is greatest in places where health insurance is already very expensive and where there are few insurers.”

Didn’t our rulers sell this exercise in communism on precisely the opposite terms, promising that it would lower the rates for and increase the availability of insurance? Sooooo typical! Politicians’ programs always flop at their stated purposes while succeeding wildly at their actual goals (in this case, empowering government literally over life and death while conditioning us to shrug at such stunning peril).

No wonder the criminals in Congress continue to debate — but never end — the ACA. And as they focus on the loathed “individual mandate,”  which forces all Americans to carry insurance, so should we, because it illustrates all that’s wrong with Obummercare specifically and the country in general.

In fact, the portrait is so blatant that even the ACA’s fans not only admit it but gloat. According to one (fifth) columnist, “The essence of the Affordable Care Act is that everyone should have health insurance not only for their own good, but for the good of everyone.”

It seems that “[t]he Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing the mandate would lead insurers to tack on an extra 10 percent increase in premium prices each year [for remaining ‘customers’] — beyond the normal year-to-year price hikes.” And so Mr. Marxist wants “premiums… kept more affordable through a universal pool of premium-payers. The best way to enforce that mandate is with a fine for noncompliance.”

Other commies agree: “The individual mandate serves a critically important function for people buying health insurance outside of an employer. It makes sure that young and healthy people with low health expenses buy insurance, which lowers premiums for everyone else. That ensures that people with chronic health conditions who don’t get insurance from work can buy coverage at an even barely reasonable price.”

In other words, these unconscionable tyrants expect citizens who neither need nor want insurance to sacrifice themselves for those who do — a mentality underlying all taxation (why should people without children pay for schools? Why charge smokers and drunks for enjoying their vices? Et cetera, ad infinitum). The heck with America’s history of reverence and respect for the individual. A man’s interests are no longer of any consequence; the public’s advantage as the State defines it can and should outweigh them.

Until Progressives perverted our laws and culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American individualism inspired the world. Let other societies subordinate their members to family, tribe or nation; Americans proudly recognized that every person matters, that each is sovereign over himself and his property, and that no one’s rights and privileges displace anyone else’s.

But the “individual mandate” shreds that heritage (or would have, if any of it still survived). Even those citizens most opposed to purchasing medical insurance must subscribe because the alleged welfare of Americans en masse usurps any individual’s concerns and desires.

To their eternal shame, Republicans first proposed the “individual mandate” decades ago “as a way to make certain that uninsured people who became ill or were injured — but were still entitled by law to medical treatment — did not push the cost of their care onto others.”

I guess repealing a law that requires hospitals to treat deadbeats would have been too logical. And too moral: no one, dying or otherwise, has the right to dragoon his neighbors into serving him, even to save his life. If you doubt that, consider a patient on dialysis: She may not hold a visitor at gunpoint until doctors have transplanted one of his kidneys into her; everyone, even progressives, would condemn such a kidnapping as violent and aggressive.

Government’s compulsion is morally equivalent. So why do we excuse or even welcome intimidation from politicians and bureaucrats?

Meanwhile, Republicans not only invented the individual mandate, they also pushed it: “‘If a young man wrecks his Porsche and has not had the foresight to obtain insurance, we may commiserate, but society feels no obligation to repair his car,’ Stuart Butler, a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said in a 1989 lecture on how to ensure affordable health care for all Americans. ‘But health care is different. If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street, Americans will care for him whether or not he has insurance.’”

Actually, Stu, hospitals care for him because an unconstitutional law constrains them. Nor is “health care … different.” It is a service that entrepreneurs, albeit highly trained, furnish to customers. But the same moral and economic laws govern its provision that govern that of other services, such as supplying food or water, clothing or shelter. Coercing people to buy medical insurance is as evil as coercing them to buy food, water or anything else (yes, even car insurance).

Progressivism has so poisoned Americans that in 2010, when “14 state attorneys general filed suit against the law’s requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance, on the ground that it was unconstitutional[, i]t was hard to find a law professor in the country who took them seriously. ‘The argument about constitutionality is, if not frivolous, close to it,’ Sanford Levinson, a University of Texas law-school professor, told the McClatchy newspapers. Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the University of California at Irvine, told the Times, ‘There is no case law, post 1937, that would support an individual’s right not to buy health care if the government wants to mandate it.’”

The Senate’s tax bill may repeal the hated mandate — but so what?  Legislation may one day reinstate it. After all, “no case law, post 1937, … support[s] an individual’s right not to buy health care if the government wants to mandate it” — or anything else.

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