08 September 2009

Universal coercion

I posted previously about how "preventive care," if it is truly to be provided universally, must involve coercion. (If I don't want to get a prostate exam, who's going to make me?)

Along with "preventive care," the term "universal coverage" gets bandied about as a goal of health care reform. But what does that really mean? The Associated Press now reports that the current reform proposal in the Senate Finance Committee includes fines of up to $3,800 per family for failure to purchase health insurance.

For a reform that at one time was being sold as help for people who cannot afford health insurance, that fine sounds mighty steep to me. The simple fact, though, is that somewhere in the neighborhood of one third of the oft-repeated "47 million uninsured" in this country have household incomes above $50,000.

They can afford it. They choose not to buy it. You and I may disagree with their priorities, but the simple fact of the matter is that there is only one way "universal coverage" can be extended to these millions of people:

Somebody has to make them buy it.

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