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For Massachusetts residents with the effrontery to disobey their Boston masters in the matter of health insurance, the new year comes with a bite. As the Boston Globe enthusiastically phrases it:
The maximum penalty for those who flout the law and do not buy health insurance would be $912 a year, compared to $219 in 2007.
Notice the wording of the above sentence. If a Bay State citizen insists on exercising his autonomy as a free man in the free market, he’s a scofflaw. The Globe also wheels out that tired canard about automobile insurance:
This approach makes buying health insurance a responsibility of all residents, similar to the way drivers are required to purchase auto insurance.
As I explain here, this is a false analogy. There is no universal mandate requiring everyone to buy car insurance, and the market for auto insurance is (mostly) free of the kind government-induced distortions that make health insurance so expensive.
Most ironic of all, this travesty was signed into law by a man who represents himself as a believer in the free markets. Because he is now hoping to get the votes of conservatives and Libertarians, Mitt Romney has downplayed the role of mandates in his proposals for national health care reform. But, as Peter Chowka points out, they will probably materialize again if he is elected:
It is reasonable to assume that, if he is elected and keeps his promise to insure everyone in the U.S. “within four years,” mandates would be required.
With a guy like Romney in the White House, who needs Hillary?
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+ May 2007
January 13th, 2008 at 10:16 pm
The issue of the “47 million uninsured” is not going away in this political environment, therefore, a plan has to be instituted that will not destroy the quality of the current system and will not result in socialized medicine. This is my solution.
Rather than create another Federal Bureaucracy with a host of employees and endless new departments and rules and regulations, it should be left in the private sector where they are already equipped to handle new insureds. Current health insurers have the employees, facilities, computers and complex infrastructure to handle the influx of the uninsured. Therefore, it would be more efficient to leave to each geographic area, like the Northeast, their share of uninsureds to absorb into the various insurance companies servicing their area.
Why would the private sector take on this burden? Answer= Significant Tax Incentives. For example, if a company could write off $2.00 for every $1.00 it expends in insuring the uninsured, then it would be motivated to take on the uninsured and provide a policy. Obviously, it depends on a business model and the ultimate tax burden of each company, which would have to be calculated. The beauty of the plan would be to prevent a new bureaucracy and to lessen the amount of money going to the Federal government, which is ultimately wasted for pork projects and/or inefficiently used. The more of our money the Federal Government has the more power it has, and the greater potential for abuse of power.
Even if the insurance companies are not motivated by the tax incentive, a similar plan could be offered to all companies and individuals to lessen their tax burden if they send their money to a non-profit set up to collect the funds and to distribute to pay for insurance policies. It would act more like a private donation to charity than a government program.
How do we properly designate who is qualified? Answer=Require anyone who is interested in the benefit to file a tax return no matter what the income level. Have a form with the return asking specific questions under oath. If they lie about their eligibility, then they are subject to fines and imprisonment. Initially, certain income levels can be set and depending on the response, the pool of eligibility can be increased. Obviously, particulars need to be added, but as a general framework, it is a win win for all involved. People insured who weren’t before, and companies and individuals with lesser tax burden. It will also determine how many people who really aren’t insured. I am sure that a significant percentage of the “47 million” can afford to pay for health insurance, but they choose not to make it a priority. This would clarify that number.
January 13th, 2008 at 10:19 pm
The second e-mail address is the correct one.
January 19th, 2008 at 11:50 pm
What can you do? There are 9 big government candidates on the Republican side, and then there is Ron Paul. We can keep raising taxes, keep crippling our economy, keep borrowing, keep inflating, and keep wasting money on pointless wars, or we can deregulate, roll back the welfare/warfare state, repeal the income tax, institute a sound, commodity based currency, and achieve the 10% economic growth which China has been enjoying, just because they shrunk their government. (not that it’s small now, but they had a lot of room to shrink).
February 23rd, 2008 at 6:27 am
Most of you who comment, seem like intelligent people. But you simply continue to ignore the basic overwhelming fact of 17% of GDP this “Private Healthcare” system we have now is spending. The fact that the private system spends 33% of every healthcare dollar on “administration costs” doesn’t faze most of you either. Hello!! This is certainly not brain surgery! Most other modern countries have systems that insure everyone, and cost MUCH less than this convoluted mess we have. I see all this talk about tax incentives etc., that is all bullcrap! The “free market” system has been given enough of a chance, more than a century actually to get this right, and we end up with 85% coverage for MUCH more money. And some of you are still convinced the free market is the “best way” to go? Geez, this is a no-brainer, for once, the other countries seem to have this correct. Think, 17% and 85% coverage, or 11% and 100% coverage. Which “system” would you buy for your business?