Health Insurance is NOT a Toaster! Fed. Judge Strikes Down Mandates, Doesn’t Get It.

A second federal judge in a few months has struck down the portion of the health insurance reform law that mandates coverage.  Here’s a New York Times story on the case.

Check out this logic, folks. This is language straight from the case, which was decided by an ideological crank down in Pensacola:

“If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain.”

Can you spot the logical flaw in the above? Seriously, it's right there in front of your face. If you can't see it., you're a right winger. 

The first problem is, this isn’t about penalizing someone for “failing to engage in commerce.” It’s insurance; it’s not a consumer product; not really. The actual consumer product, if there is one in this case, is the health care. 

You see, you put money into a pot, just in case you get sick. When you get sick, or you go to the doctor to stay well, the bill goes to the insurance company for payment out of the pool of money you've contributed to. You don't actually "buy insurance," you pay premiums. 

Most of us will need health care at some point, even those of us who avoid the doctor like the plague, as it were. It’s not like a car or a bicycle, or even a toaster. 

Insurance fits under the concept of “financial responsibility.” It is not possible to know when you’ll need health care, or how much. And those people who can afford insurance, and choose not to purchase premiums, aren’t opting out of the health care system at all; no one has that ability, unless they have incredible psychic powers, and know exactly when and where they will get sick or injured, and how much it will cost. At some point, they may catch something from someone they pass on the street, and become deathly ill, and the rest of us will be forced to pay for what this idiot judge considers to be a “consumer choice.”

You have a right to a certain level of health care. That's not even a question. If someone shows up on the doorstep of a doctor’s office or an emergency room with his arm hanging off, the doctors at both places have an ethical and legal obligation to treat them. If you show up at the hospital, pregnant and dilated 4 centimeters, the hospital will take you in, or transfer you to a county hospital, or whatever. But the bottom line is, you are entitled to have a medical professional deliver your baby and make sure both of you are healthy before sending you home.

That is your right. Doctors have obligations, and you, the patient, have rights.

Essentially, what this judge is saying is, you have the right to health care, but no one can make you pay your fair share for it.  

Gee, that’s a hell of a “commercial” model, isn’t it? 

This is how right wingers think. We all have rights, but forget obligations and responsibilities. You have the right to health care, but to force you to pay into the pool that will eventually pay the bills when you get hit by that bus; God forbid. 

The funny thing is, almost all of us, including right wingers, have a precedent for this mandate folded up in our wallets. Take out your automobile insurance card and take a look at it. In order to drive a motor vehicle in every state in the union, you must demonstrate financial responsibility in case of an accident that you can't afford. 

For those who think "this is different" because driving is a "privilege," you're wrong. As long as you can demonstrate an ability, and you have no physical impairments, you have a RIGHT to drive. 

Of course, car insurance isn't really mandatory. What's mandatory is "financial responsibility." You don't have to buy car insurance; you just have to demonstrate financial responsibility. In other words, if you do something stupid on the road, you have to be able to prove you can pay for it. 

It's exactly the same with health insurance. The health insurance reform law doesn't mandate insurance, really. In fact, there is a huge section on "self-insurance," and another for those who have the ability to post a bond to cover health emergencies. They can also put money in the bank, and opt for a catastrophic policy for any costs incurred over that amount. It’s modeled very much on the car insurance law that mandates financial responsibility for all drivers. It's exactly the same thing. 

The problem with our health care system, at least up until this law was passed, was that people had a right to health care, but they were forbidden from paying into the system. As a result, these people received bills they couldn’t pay, and those of us with insurance were expected to pick up the slack. Now, with reform, everyone is expected to pay into the system, based on what they can afford, so that all, or almost all, of the bills get paid, which reduces the burden on the rest of us.

But now, we have judges likening financial responsibility to choosing a car, and the rest of us, once again, will be forced to pick up the slack.

Liberty comes with responsibility. We have the liberty to take our fevered bodies into a hospital and get treatment. With that liberty should come the responsibility to pay for that treatment, to the extent possible. What this judge has done is to essentially sanction liberty without responsibility. Boneheads who have access to insurance and the ability to pay for it will now be able to opt out, get sick, and saddle the rest of us with the bill. 

I swear, some ideologues, including federal judges, simply don’t understand that their ideology is costing the rest of us dearly. 

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