No choice but to participate in health care?

Posted by & filed under Politics.

I already did my ranting about the individual health insurance and how I believe it’s an attempt to fix a consequence rather than the cause of the problem. But lately lawsuits showed another strange set of arguments why the idea behind “buy insurance or pay a fine” should be implemented.

In this case administration plays the inevitability card. Or rather two cards at once. One — that everyone will use the healthcare system at a certain point in their life. Another — that if they don’t carry insurance, the cost will be passed onto others.

While I can understand the first argument (excluding esoteric cases of people refusing medical services in principle) I don’t understand the second. In order for it to be valid, the administration is essentially arguing that it’s physically impossible to use healthcare system and being able to pay for it. Aside from the fact that someone could object to an end-of-life services, where most expenses happen, or choose to go to a cheaper country for health services (shocking, I know, but you can get things done much cheaper abroad, where suing doctor due to an unsatisfactory nose job is not as common, especially if patient made the medical decision to go with the procedure), idea of affordable service is simply thrown out the window.

Which makes me doubt that the real goal of the reform is to truly bring cost of maintaining healthy population down. They already declared that you can’t afford it, so may as well go and buy that insurance.

Ian Gershengorn also argued that individual mandate doesn’t force people buy a product but a financial service instead, thus comparison to forcing someone buy broccoli, because every human has to eat and thus can’t avoid the commerce of food purchasing, does not apply. Very well, but then similar argument can be used to force every citizen to obtain a bank account. After all, every single person of appropriate mental capacity who doesn’t depend on a caretaker will, inevitably, buy something, sooner or later. Pay for health care or food or clothing. Thus, “to minimize cash handling expenses” one could argue that everyone needs to have a banking account and a debit card (at the minimum).

Scary thought, especially for Visa/MasterCard whose fees system just about to get tweaked by the Federal Reserve.

How about linking the type of food to the health care? Everyone knows, that eating healthy food leads to, well, better health. So if someone can’t avoid but use health care, Congress could mandate that a certain percent of purchased food should be of specified quality. In the name of reducing expenses, of course.

Either one of my comparisons seems to be a stretch at this time, but please help me find the flaw in such logic.

Again, I am all for the affordable health care. I just don’t like the idea of doing it via some “magic of health insurance” . Insurances are simply re-distributing the cost of events based on probability among the group of people who don’t know when a certain event will happen. Traditionally it’s a savings instrument (which then grew into investment, when insurance companies realized they could put money to work before they have to pay off the claim) and it should remain such.


Leave a Reply