Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Sunday, July 01, 2012

"Free Riders"

ABC News has been touting a statement presidential candidate Mitt Romney made about the Massachusetts state health care plan – Romneycare.

“In what is now a well-known exchange from ABC News’ January 2008 Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney declared “I like mandates” when asked by moderator Charlie Gibson about his approach to health care reform in Massachusetts.

But there’s another moment from the debate that’s getting more traction after yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling — on in which Romney says “yes,” when asked is the health reform law he ushered in as governor constituted a tax.

GIBSON:   Governor … you imposed tax penalties in Massachusetts?

ROMNEY: Yes, we said, look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your  way; don’t be free-riders."

Free riders?  Yes, let’s talk about all those “free riders”, beginning with the illegal immigrants who pay no taxes into our economy at all, who are allowed to charge everything from diaper rash crème to heart surgery to the government – that is, the taxpayers.

Let’s talk about all those lower-income Americans whom we’re told we must subsidize from the bottom of our hearts – and our pocketbooks.  Every time they’re child sneezes, we pay for their medication.  We already pay for their food, their homes, and their education, and we pay for their medical care.

These two groups alone are responsible for driving up the cost of medical care.  The third guilty party is the government itself, with numerous fees and regulations that cost hospitals and doctors’ offices millions in additional staffing and time.

The government can hardly accuse the elderly of raising the cost of health care, since every retired citizens has already contributed to Social Security and Medicare through their taxes.  They’re hardly the “free riders” Mitt Romney and the Progressive Media would paint them to be.  If you’re working (if you’re lucky enough to be working, you are paying your freight).

Yet Social Security is bankrupt and Medicare is about to be gutted by Obamacare.  Why has no one audited the true costs of Medicare; the same cost that plagues every business – labor?

One of the provisions of Obamacare is education for legions of new doctors and nurses to replace those doctors who are getting out of the business?  The doctors aren’t unionized, but probably will be – a Democrat Senator has already made the motion.  Who do you think will be paying the tuition of these new doctors and nurses?  Neither the free riders, nor the students.  Again, it will be the taxpayer.  “Free riders” who have a conscientious objection to this government intrusion on our personal lives will face paying the tax, or jail, if they don’t.

Advocates claim the transformation will be incremental.  Of course, it will.  Otherwise, voters would openly rebel and put the entire lot of crooks out on the street where they belong.  That’s how Obamacare got past the first judicial stage.  Because the bill wasn’t a tax – yet; no tax had been collected, so no one could sue for a refund, SCOTUS was able to let it go by.

Wherever Government treads on our freedom, paperwork and bureaucracy follow.  Thousands of IRS agents have already been hired, causing yet another burden on the taxpayer and on a flailing economy.

These are the reasons the cost of health care is so prohibitive and why the “free riders” avoid it as long as possible.  Few insurance companies care to deal with health insurance because the costs to them are so prohibitive.  They know that you can charge only so high a premium before you lose customers.  They, too, must hire numerous legal experts to deal with the mounting bureaucracy.

Companies have been generous – overly-generous – in their health care benefits.  They have deductibles, and most people choose the lowest (naturally).  New Jersey is one of the worst offenders in terms of health care bureaucracy.  My former company stopped selling health insurance in this state years ago.  It’s not because New Jerseyans are sicker; it’s because the state regulations are so onerous.  In New Jersey, in order to sell health insurance a company must appoint the governor to the board of directors.  Essentially, the government runs the health insurance companies in New Jersey.

With so little competition, the largest company can afford to charge outrageous premiums.  People in their late fifties often pay up to $800 or $900 a month for health insurance.  Some of these are people who were employed, had company health insurance, but lost their positions, thanks no doubt, in part, to the cost of providing health insurance in this state.  No wonder companies are fleeing.

If private health care insurance could be purchased at a reasonable premium, young people would do so.  That would not prevent the insurer from raising the premium as they got older, however.  Just as young drivers pay a high premium, which goes down as they get older and safer, premiums for older people will go up as they get older and sicker.  Forcing younger people into the system will not change that.  All they would be doing is subsidizing the more at-risk group, something car owners do not have to do.

However, automobile owners are, or were nearly, forced to subsidize drivers in the cities, who have worse driving habits, exhibit less responsibility, and more tickets.  No one knows whether this nasty piece of regulation has passed.  Like Obamacare, it represented a tax, more or less, on more affluent drivers.  The insurance companies were forbidden to inform their policyholders of the reason for this fee on their bills.  The Media has been less than forthcoming on news of this piece of regulation.

There’s another reason, beyond the Constitutional, that makes Obamacare bad legislation and SCOTUS’ ruling outrageous:  Obamacare creates a moral hazard.  Before universal health care became the vogue, before Medicaid and Medicare, the employed had limited health care insurance from their companies, which only covered two issues:  hospitalization and catastrophic illness.  If you got a cold, or had diabetes, you were on your own.  So people had an incentive to take better care of themselves.  People weighed less.  People ate less.  There was no government to buy their food or take care of them when they became ill from overeating.

That all changed in 1965, with the introduction of welfare, Medicaid and Medicare.  Why worry?  Whatever you did, the government would take care of you.  Smoke away, gorge yourselves, lie on the couch and watch television instead of taking a walk in the evenings.  You had nothing to worry about.  Uncle Sam would pick up the bill.

But there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  Uncle Sam has decided you need to pay the piper.  Even though the U.S. taxpayer is the piper, Uncle Sam is calling the tunes.  At least now he is.  You can be compelled to do anything he says.  Enroll at the gym (on your own dime; if you’re in the entitlement class, on the taxpayer’s dime), buy and eat what food he dictates, go to a government doctor, who will eventually (depend on it) compel you to accept an implanted chip which will not only monitor all your activities but your financial records as well.

Meanwhile, Uncle Sam will take good care of his union minions.  They are exempt from Obamacare’s mandates.  Free riders?  Mitt Romney and ABC must be kidding.  Who do they think they’re kidding?

It’s time for the Tea Parties to rally again, signs and all:  Taxed Enough Already.


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