Obamacare

Do Non-Libertarians Care About the Health Insurance Mandate?

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Do non-libertarians actually care about the new health care law's individual mandate to purchase health insurance? Kevin Drum doesn't think so:

Conservatives have no problem in general with mandating behavior. Nor do they have any problem with mandating affirmative behavior. In the context of healthcare reform, many of them have supported the individual mandate in the past. And the smart ones, at least, understand perfectly well why a mandate is necessary in order to make the broader healthcare reform package work.

Their opposition isn't based on any special principle. It's based on the fact that (a) they don't like healthcare reform and (b) people don't really like being forced to do stuff. This makes the mandate a convenient point of attack. Most non-libertarians don't really care about the mandate [bold added], but once Glenn and Sean and Rush have them suitably foaming at the mouth about Barack Obama's relentless attack on all that we hold dear in this country, getting them upset about the mandate is a pretty easy upsell.

But you can't just say this, even though it's plainly true. You have to pretend to take conservative arguments about this seriously. You have to write detailed responses, complete with quotes from law professors and health experts. You have to pretend that this is an actual issue, not just a handy attack point.

It would be tough to argue that there's no political motivation to attacks on the mandate by GOP politicians. And he's right that GOP politicians haven't exactly been bastions of consistency on the issue: As Matt Miller notes, in the past, some Republicans (mostly those who lean toward the moderate side) have supported a mandate. But just because some Republican politicians are using the mandate as a path to political gain doesn't mean that no one in the public at large cares about the provision.

Perhaps this is just me projecting my own libertarian concerns onto the general population. But if you look at polling both before and after law's passage, the mandate has always generated strong negative responses. Back in January, for example, a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that the mandate was the least popular element, with 62 percent reporting that it made them less likely to support the law. In August, another Kaiser poll found that 70 percent opposed the mandate. When that 70 percent was further asked how their opinion would change upon hearing "that without such a requirement, the cost of health insurance would rise substantially for many people," 72 percent said they would still view the provision unfavorably. Maybe that's all a result of Republican hype. But I find it hard to believe that a big percentage of the public dislikes the mandate so vehemently that they'd be willing to accept "substantially" higher health insurance costs to get rid of it, yet they also don't really care about the issue. 

Are some GOP elected officials playing politics with the mandate? Almost certainly; after all, playing politics is what politicians do. But their strategic flip-flops don't change the fact that the mandate is an issue that resonates strongly and negatively with a lot of the public. 

NEXT: The Government's License to Steal

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  1. You have to pretend to take conservative arguments about this seriously. You have to write detailed responses, complete with quotes from law professors and health experts. You have to pretend that this is an actual issue, not just a handy attack point.

    If, as he says, conservatives done care about it really, only libertarians do, how come he isnt taking libertarian arguments seriously and writing responses to them?

    1. Because we’re a small minority, and he can’t refute the argument?

      But other than that I completely agree that your average Republican who claims to be outraged by this is just parroting talking points and doesn’t actually have a principled stand on the government forcing people to do things.

      1. Citation?

  2. The GOP was for the mandate, before they were against it.

    1. Not that there’s anything contradictory or wrong with saying:

      1) If you have guaranteed issue and community rating, then you need a mandate.
      2) We don’t like a mandate, so we’re against guaranteed issue and community rating.

      Even among libertarians, if you assume that guaranteed issue and community rating will not be repealed, there’s a split about whether to have a mandate or not. (Split that roughly tracks more pragmatic/economics-based libertarians from more philosophically/freedom-based libertarians.)

      The silly portion are the people who want guaranteed issue and community rating, but hate a mandate (and also hate higher premiums.) That applies mostly to moderates and independents, though.

      1. Not that there’s anything contradictory or wrong with saying:

        1) If you have guaranteed issue and community rating, then you need a mandate.
        2) We don’t like a mandate, so we’re against guaranteed issue and community rating.

        There is also nothing remotely libertarian about accepting mandatory issue or community ratings. Both are per se violations of the economic freedom of both parties to the transaction.

        Which means that what John means when he says “pragmatic” is “not libertarian”.

        Sheesh! I thought I was the wussy, go-slow softy around here.

        1. Oh, for sure they are. But they’re also enormously popular and difficult to repeal except as part of a lump sum “repeal it all” (which I’m still hoping for.)

          In many cases, given a liberty-restricting policy that will not be repealed, libertarians may disagree about the best way to handle it.

          For similar situations, even if libertarians agree that public funding of radio or TV or research or schools is inappropriate (or that at most things like vouchers should be used), they may disagree about how to decide what should be funded, given the reality of the funding. E.g., some libertarians may be against sex education in public schools, but equally convinced that “if we’re going to have it, it had better be science-based.” Some will be insistent that research funding be eligible to go towards embryonic stem cells, while others will have no problem with a restriction that prevents the government from doing something that it shouldn’t be funding in general, even if it may bias things. (Particularly as long as private research remains legal.)

      2. “”1) If you have guaranteed issue and community rating, then you need a mandate.
        2) We don’t like a mandate, so we’re against guaranteed issue and community rating.””

        Was that their stance in the early 90s when the Rs thought the mandate was a good idea?

        Did that line of thinking apply to Medicare part D?

        Just asking.

        1. Was that their stance in the early 90s when the Rs thought the mandate was a good idea?

          You mean when they thought it was a better idea than single-payer?

          Did that line of thinking apply to Medicare part D?

          The bill that only passed because of
          Democratic support, and because of expanding HSAs in order to get conservatives to sign on?

          The bill that only passed because the polls showed dramatic voter sentiment in favor of some prescription drug benefit, and enough went along because they thought it was better than the alternative Democratic plan that would pass otherwise?

          I’m glad to see that you see that the situations are indeed quite similar. When it seems like a policy that you don’t like is going to pass regardless (because of popular support, like for guaranteed issue and community rating), then you have to make a choice about whether to try to minimize the negative effects of the policy.

          When the overall policy is actually quite unpopular, you have a chance to defeat it. You may notice that despite “their stance in the early 90s,” nothing actually came of the Rs offering the mandate as an alternative, because HillaryCare became unpopular enough that they could kill it.

          However, Medicare Part D in specific and the idea of a prescription drug benefit in general were and are wildly popular, just like guaranteed issue and community rating. If the Obama Administration had limited themselves to just guaranteed issue and community rating, they would have easily passed– and then they could have cleaned them up later. And they’d have political capital left over for DADT and other things. As it is, it’s super important that Obamacare get repealed wholesale, because otherwise community rating and guaranteed issue will never be repealed if a repeal-by-parts approach is taken.

          Or, dear me, did you actually think that the scenarios were different?

          1. The bill that only passed because the polls showed dramatic voter sentiment in favor of some prescription drug benefit, and enough went along because they thought it was better than the alternative Democratic plan that would pass otherwise?

            Yeah, those pesky minority Democrats passing veto-proof legislation all on their own…

      3. The mandate isn’t actually pragmatic. Essentially, if the mandate is held constitutional there will be no “young and healthy” to extort money from. People will take one of several actions:

        * Start their own personal insurance company
        * Move abroad
        * Consume more medical services to get their money’s worth (by taking on risky activities, using “preventive” care, defensive medicine, etc.)
        * Join an ERISA plan for a company that excludes unhealthy people in a legally defensible way.
        * and so on…

        The insurance companies are too stupid to realize this (if they were smart they would have eliminated the FDA long ago). However the public knows that a mandate will actually increase costs more than guaranteed issue will alone.

  3. Asking what non-libertarians care about is way too broad, you moronic fuck. There are more albinos than libertarians.

    1. ARF!ARF!ARF!ARF!ARF!ARF!ARF!ARF!

    2. There are more puppies than Albinos.

    3. Albinos make up 0.006% of the population of the United States.

      Libertarians make up 9-14% of the American vote.

      Obviously more albinos than libertarians.

      1. When has a LP Presidential candidate ever pulled 9% of the vote?

        Believe me – I wish for it. But I would also prefer a parliamentary system where all parties had representation.

        I would love to see the SoCons walk the plank – they are the ones fucking up everything.

        1. Bullshit, shrike. Anyone who positively argues in favor of the health-care mandate does NOT “wish for” a successful Libertarian candidate.

          Your 100% blaming of “SoCons” is also proof of your lying ass. Unless you are willing to place blame on the left as well, you are a fucking liar.

          1. Oh fuck you. I argued the legality of the mandate based on ‘Stare decisis’.

            I would love to see the parties untangled from their bullshit sidekick constituents.

            SoCons are about 25% of the country and need to be isolated like the Taliban would be here. The US is about 15-20% Green and the rest of us are market and social liberals.

            Libertarians line up with market and social liberals naturally.

            1. Bullshit on your bullshit, shrike. You play-act like you’re the reinfuckingcarnation of Hayek, but you’re just a closet socialist who thinks his chronic hangnail problem is caused by the GOP’s secret Orbital Cuticle Destroying Laser.

              In other words… fuck you and your fucked-up worldview. You’re no better than Limbaugh AND Ed Schultz, if one were to mash the two men together in a cement mixer, for instance. Which sounds like a good ending for two worthless pricks at opposite ends of the spectrum.

              See, shrike, you only blame Team Red, just like Tony does. You never blame Team Blue. Never. And, clearly, both Teams are hard at work figuring out how to finish fucking America. It’s just a sprint to the finish line for the GOP and the Democrats. That is ALL it is.

              You’re a disingenuous, sniveling little tool, and your only redeeming quality results from reading your so-called analysis of what’s wrong with this country. No rational person would hire you to mow their yard, let alone for anything important.

              How you managed to get this alleged high-tech gig, is really a noggin-scratcher. Your employer must be a retarded version of Helen Keller.

              1. Nice rant but I am steadfast in my view that the GOP is for bigger government than the other.

                SoCon + Anti-ACLU + War + theocracy = BIG gov (won’t quibble about 2 pts on taxes.)

        2. Believe me – I wish for it.

          Nope, I don’t believe you. You’ve never posted a single comment in favor of anything libertarian, just screeds in favor of TARP and against perceived Rednecks.

          But I would also prefer a parliamentary system where all parties had representation.

          1) Are you confusing a parliamentary system with proportional representation? WTF, why do people keep doing that?

          2) Unfortunately, anti-libertarian big-spending SoCons would still get more votes than libertarians. Exactly how much extra libertarian is any PR-using country?

          1. I never claimed to be a libertarian.

            I am a classic liberal – like Hayek.

            1. Not sure I’d call you “classic” but yeah…

              1. He’s a classical liberal without all of that classical stuff.

    4. I’m an albino Libertarian, so there.

      1. I’m interested in subscribing to your newsletter

  4. Or it could be that once people realize that such a law is imminent (or has already passed) rather than some theoretical construct they start taking negative views of it.

    I realize that this concept is difficult for the likes of Kevin Dum to understand, so let’s just pretend that all opposition to the mandate is due to racism to make him feel better.

    1. People like guaranteed issue and community rating, but they don’t like a mandate. They don’t like it when they’re told that the cost of the former is the latter.

      This is similar to that shocking fact that people like stuff from the government, but don’t like having to pay for it with taxes, and some will change their mind on how much stuff to get from the government when they see the bill.

    2. “Let’s just pretend that all opposition to the mandate is due to racism to make him feel better.”

      LeBron James is starting to figure that one out too.

  5. I don’t know. If the public was truly incensed by “mandatory”, we would have such a preponderance of mandatory auto insurance. But we do.

    I think the public incensed about mandatory health insurance in particular, since it means being forced to buy into a broken system.

    1. Auto insurance isnt mandatory. Plenty of people dont have a license and thus dont have to bother with it.

      1. Actually, realized I have to prove insurance when I pay my property tax on my car, not when I get a new license. That lessens the amount of people needing insurance.

        Really, not sure how that works. If you have a license but no car, do you need insurance?

        1. And if a car runs into a ditch, and the Republicans were driving, who buys the Slurpees??

        2. “”If you have a license but no car, do you need insurance?””

          I have a license and sans car. The answer is no. Which makes sense because I have no automobile for which I need liability insurance.

          When I rent a car, it’s pretty expensive because I get the insurance. I rented a car for a week and it was around $400. The car rental was $17 a day

          1. Here in Oregon you can’t get a license without proof of insurance.

            1. But what if you don’t have a car? You can’t drive unless you own a car? Bizarre.

        3. Property tax on your car?

      2. Mandatory auto insurance for people that do want to drive is still pretty fucked up. So are licenses.

        1. So I’m curious.

          Texas doesn’t (or didn’t last time I lived there) have mandatory insurance as such. They have a requirement that you show the ability to pay X dollars (was 50,000 in the ’90s) in the event you are held liable in a automobile related accident.

          For most of us regular Joes of course, that means carrying insurance.

          Do feel that this calls for a different moral analysis? In other words, is it fair to insist that engaging in an activity that imposes a substantial risk on others be made contingent on being about to cover some approximation of the costs in the event that the risk is realized?

          I guess there is probably a related questions involving licensing, but I don’t want to go there because the current licensing system is wrapped up in state surveillance issues.

          1. You compensate for this risk by including uninsured motorist coverage. I think that’s a fair compromise.

            Remember that when you’re hit by the uninsured motorist, they’re still liable. They may not be able to pay much if they’re broke, but there’s still a heavy incentive to be insured.

            1. Hence the argument that mandatory liability insurance is a wealth transfer from the poor (who wouldn’t be able to pay for fixes) to the middle class and wealthy.

              1. “Hence the argument that mandatory liability insurance is a wealth transfer from the poor (who wouldn’t be able to pay for fixes) to the middle class and wealthy.”

                Perhaps, but it’s a civil law matter, I guess. Even if you’re poor, you still owe the injured party compensation. So, in the instance of insurance, it may be that it’s a transfer payment from the poor to the wealthy insurance copmanies, but it certainly wouldn’t be an unconditional transfer payment from poor motorist to wealthy motorist.

                1. *copmanies* ^companies^

            2. Yep, I have a lean on a poor lady’s house after her excluded daughter ran a red light. Had to go through small claims court to get it. I don’t think I’ll ever see the money. I will never go without uninsured motorist insurance again. In fact, it paid out $100,000 in an accident my daughter got messed up in.

          2. Do feel that this calls for a different moral analysis? In other words, is it fair to insist that engaging in an activity that imposes a substantial risk on others be made contingent on being about to cover some approximation of the costs in the event that the risk is realized?

            Wait… what do you mean in relation to the what we’re talking about with health insurance? What behavior am I engaging in that imposes a substantial risk?

            1. Not in relation to health insurance–where you are not imposing any risks on anybody–I was just poking the Colonel because he issues a pretty broad and strong statement.

              I’ve heard arguments both ways, and was just interested in where he might stand

          3. Yeah that’s how it is. If you happen to have a deposit of $30,000 on file with the DPS (DMV), you don’t have to have insurance. You just provide proof of your deposit.

        2. Using the liberal argument, everyone should be forced to carry auto insurance even if they can’t/will never own/drive a motor vehicle of any kind.

          1. Which is an instance where the modern definition of “liberal” is a synonym for “morally bankrupt”.

    2. Perhaps the people understand it’s only mandatory if you own a car.

    3. We don’t have mandatory collision insurance, we have mandatory liability insurance.

      While there are reasonable arguments against the latter, people are pretty well persuaded by the idea of “if somebody hits me with their car, their insurance had better pay for the damages.”

      1. “”people are pretty well persuaded by the idea of “if somebody hits me with their car, their insurance had better pay for the damages.”””

        Yet for some reason, if I go to the hospital, I better have insurance to pay the costs, just doesn’t ring the same way. Probably because we are good about expecting others to do the right thing, yet excuse ourselves when we do not.

        1. Feel free to pay for the damages to your car yourself, and similarly, feel free to pay for your own damn health care. The glaring logical flaw about covering damages you cause to someone else and covering the damages you cause to yourself should have been immediately apparent to you.

          1. “” The glaring logical flaw about covering damages you cause to someone else and covering the damages you cause to yourself should have been immediately apparent to you””

            Anger just looking for a place to land.

            You obviously didn’t understand my post.

            1. Can you more carefully explain your post for the rest of us? Because it sure looks like you’re arguing that people *should* see getting insurance to cover their own problems (whether medical or auto) as the same as getting insurance to pay for damages that they do to other people. You seem confused as to why they seem different to people.

              You also seem to think that the morality is the same between being able to pay someone for the damages that you do to them, and having insurance so that you can afford to pay for your own troubles. To me, and many others, those are NOT the same kind of “do[ing] the right thing.”

              1. I’m looking at it from a responsiblity point of view. Not a moral point of view.

                Do you disagree that if you damage my property you should pay?

                Do you disagree that you should have your own health insurance? Or at least a way to pay for your own health care?

                1. Do you disagree that if you damage my property you should pay?

                  I agree with you.

                  Do you disagree that you should have your own health insurance?

                  That is up to the individual.

                  Or at least a way to pay for your own health care?

                  That is up to the individual. You dont pay, you dont get, or you look for a charity to help you out.

        2. Come now, is health insurance for yourself more like liability insurance (required) or collision insurance (not)? Surely you grasped my point?

          The analogy to liability insurance is vaccinations– which are mandatory.

          (I mentioned but am not addressing the reasonable argument that mandatory liability insurance should also not be required, because if you want insurance against your car being fixed from some idiot who can’t afford to pay for it to be fixed, you should just get uninsured motorist protection, and mandatory insurance is ultimately a subsidy to the middle and upper class from the poor.)

          How is it not doing the right thing when you decide that you’ll pay the consequences if you damage your own car? It’s not a moral choice.

          Stop imposing your morality on others.

          1. “”Come now, is health insurance for yourself more like liability insurance (required) or collision insurance (not)? Surely you grasped my point?””

            I was agreeing with your point. I stated many times on this board they are not analogous.

            What I was highlighting is the idea that people expect others to have coverage when others do something to them, yet often do not hold themselves to the level of responsibility when they should cover themselves with health insurance.

          2. “”How is it not doing the right thing when you decide that you’ll pay the consequences if you damage your own car? It’s not a moral choice.””

            If you damage your car, it is your responsibiltiy to get it fixed. If someone else damages your own property they should fix it. If you get sick, it’s your responsibility.

            1. So your saying I should be arrested for not fixing the dents in my car? crap

              1. Arrested by the Hooters Police, furry handcuffs and all.

    4. I understand the difference (as many have pointed out) between mandatory insurance that’s conditional on object ownership vs. mandatory insurance that’s conditional on being alive.

      I don’t think that’s relevant to my point though. Yes, you can escape car insurance via not driving. But people who elect not to drive don’t do it to escape car insurance. They do it because they don’t have a need to have a car. The acceptance of mandatory car insurance for those who have a car easily translates into an acceptance of medical insurance for those who are alive (from a utilitarian, not libertarian, point of view). Given the vast acceptance of mandatory car insurance as a legitimate policy of the state, I still feel that mandatory health insurance leverages that acceptance to the point at which the general public is not deeply offended by the concept.

      What’s offensive is buying health insurance from an overly regulated industry that’s proven itself to be inefficient and costly, particularly given our third-party purchaser scheme.

      1. Once again, no the analogy doesnt hold. There isnt a need (generally) for liability health insurance, which is the only part of car insurance that is mandatory (at least in my state). Whether I want to cover myself it my own choice. And should be for health insurance too.

  6. Regardless of whether non-libertarians care as much about the mandate now?

    As soon as they’re forced to cough up hundreds or, in the case of families, thousands for not being in compliance?

    They’ll care.

    Despite all the attention it’s been given, I don’t think most people understand what the mandate is and how it affects them. When they fall into its jowls?

    They’ll care.

    1. Obama told me the rich people will pay my insurance. 😉

      1. Dude! They’re gonna pay for everything! And they should, those greedy, rich bastards.

      2. That winky thing at the end of your post implies to me that you think this is not true. The rich aren’t paying for my insurance?

        Ohhhhh noes!!!!!1!

        1. I am making fun of it, but he did run on the Robin Hood platform.

  7. Yes, Obamacare ended the evil of being denied benefits because you didn’t have insurance by making it illegal not to have insurance.

    1. Yep, and now you’ll have the evil of being denied benefits because their won’t be enough to go around for everyone who might need them. Hope you are well connected, if you get seriously ill.

  8. That’s because they already have health insurance. Only Libertarians care about “force” cause they are too cheap ass to buy it.

    Oh, and using the word force makes them shit their pants.

  9. I’m not a libertarian and I care. It’s hard for me to see how liberals spent years demonizing insurance companies and now are going to make them pay by…forcing everyone to do business with them!

    1. The demonizing was in part to keep your mind off the lobby money flowing into their pockets.

    2. Liberals love the insurance business – look at Buffett, Watsa, and Peter Lewis among others who make billions from it.

      You’re talking about the far left anti-business set who hate any for-profit enterprise.

      Its only folk like Rush Limbaugh (King of the Rednecks) who thinks every liberal is a welfare recipient.

      1. You were doing so well there, until you mentioned Rush Limbaugh.

        1. And likened a guy with an estimated net worth of $300 million living in a 10-room Manhattan Penthouse to being the messiah of the right-wingers.

          1. hey – I get stuck with Michael Moore (useless idiot) you get Fat Rush!

    3. I think if liberals had their way they’d put the health insurance industry out of business by enacting a single-payer system.

      The thing we got, which nobody really likes, was the result of painful compromises with conservadems like Ben Nelson.

      1. It must really piss you off Tony that you got zero GOP votes and can’t blame the whole mess on moderate GOPers instead.

        Hell, even Medicare Part D wouldn’t have passed with 12 Democratic Senators voting for it, so conservative and libertarian GOP leaners can console themselves with that to preserve team loyalty.

  10. I just think it’s odd that a boring pro-managerial state- establishment rag would be named after an actual radical. Mother Jones the person may have been wrong about a great many things, but she wasn’t a stooge for the establishment like Mother Jones the magazine.

  11. It is all meaningless. The mandate penalty is less than the insurance. No one will buy the insurance. they will pay the penalty. Then, if they get sick, they will buy the insurance. No pre-existing conditions, remember?

    1. If I pay a penalty that goes to cover the uninsured, why would I need to buy insurance at all? I could see people making that claim.

      “”Then, if they get sick, they will buy the insurance.””

      That may or may not help. When you buy it, it only covers you from when the policy is active. That might work for the big illnesses, but it won’t help pay for the Dr. visit you had a day before you bought the insurance.

      Something that will be interesting to see is how much that policy will cost when someone with a big problem like Cancer wants to sign up.

      1. Something that will be interesting to see is how much that policy will cost when someone with a big problem like Cancer wants to sign up.

        It’s not supposed to be allowed to cost more than for a regular person. That’s the whole “community rating” part that was added in along with guaranteed issue. The only thing that they’re allowed to do is charge old people a little bit more than young people– but that’s limited too, they’re not allowed to charge them actually as much extra as old people cost.

        1. “”It’s not supposed to be allowed to cost more than for a regular person.””

          But will it?

          Probably not.

          1. What, are you asking if the government will just ignore a major (and highly popular in polls, when people are ignoring the costs) provision of the law?

            Several states already have community rating– states like NY and NJ, who have horribly expensive individual health insurance as a result.

            1. “”What, are you asking if the government will just ignore a major (and highly popular in polls, when people are ignoring the costs) provision of the law?””

              I expect the law will be modified to not burden everyone with horribly expensive insurance. A horribly expensive plan with not be popular in the polls once enacted.

              1. Congratulations, you have a basic understanding of political science. Please pass it on to Kevin Drum.

                Along with a basic understanding of economics – then he might get that community rating means everybody WILL have horribly expensive insurance.

      2. That may or may not help. When you buy it, it only covers you from when the policy is active. That might work for the big illnesses, but it won’t help pay for the Dr. visit you had a day before you bought the insurance.

        Rac makes an interesting point, and this is all a very interesting discussion. It’ll sure be fun watching to see where everyone tries to “game the system”*

        I would note, TrickyVic that the Dr. Visit they had the day before probably wouldn’t be that expensive– on average. The reason we buy health insurance is for the catastrophic stuff. Which usually point to chronic conditions. As Rac pointed out, no pre-existing conditions denied.

        Sure you could get in the ER for a car accident and the ER visit could be tens or even 100s of thousands. But people who don’t have insurance already get that care. But, if any chronic conditions come out of the car accident, again, it would probably fall under ‘preexisting condition’ clauses.

        *If healthcare is a “right”, you can’t “game the system”. You’re either exercising your right, or you’re not.

      3. “That might work for the big illnesses, but it won’t help pay for the Dr. visit you had a day before you bought the insurance.”

        As a self employed person who’s been very sporadically insured for about 15 years I can tell you its MUCH cheaper to pay your own medical expenses than to pay insurance prem’s. Anyone who buys insurance just to cover regular doctor visits is kind of an idiot. You buy insurance as a gamble, hedging the risk against that big illness.

        1. Not if they have a chronic health condition that requires expensive medications on a daily basis.

    2. thats my plan

  12. If Congress can force people to buy this product for no better reason than they are alive, it can order people to buy anything.

    Do people really not understand the scope of power the\at government is attempting to grab?

    And for those of you who support that power grab, do you really imagine that once established as precedent, it won’t inevitably be used to harm you too?

    1. “”Do people really not understand the scope of power the\at government is attempting to grab?””

      In general? I say no they don’t. They want health care reform, they are getting reform. They view it as government coming to their aid.

      I have a liberal friend that was praising the passage of the law. I was trying to tell him that even if you are for reform, it’s a horrible law. He just ignored the horrible law part. I’m going to have fun with him later with that one.

    2. —“And for those of you who support that power grab, do you really imagine that once established as precedent, it won’t inevitably be used to harm you too?”—

      There are not too many here that support this power grab.

  13. Ken Cuccinelli kicked the shit out of some stupid callers on Cspan this morning. He also said he was happy with the kinds of questions the judge was asking.

  14. Or it could be that the health care bill is turning conservatives into libertarians.

    1. That’s pretty common actually.

      When conservatives are in a crisis, they always sound like libertarians. Once the crisis is over? They’re right back after the networks for showing too much skin on TV.

      Listen to Ronald Reagan in front of the State of Liberty when the economy was falling apart? He sounded just like a libertarian.

      Listen to Bush the Lesser right after 9/11, standing on the rubble? He sounded just like a libertarian.

      It’s a mirage.

      The Dixiecrats sounded like libertarians too, sometimes, in the face of desegregation. Everybody points to their rights and liberties when they’re in trouble…

      It’s like those promises Christians pray make when they’re in trouble. “Sweet Jesus, I swear to God, I’ll never beat my wife again if only you don’t let her call the cops–just this one time, please!”

      I guess us libertarians are the battered wife in that analogy.

      1. Actually, I think we might be Jesus in that analogy. Or like priests or something.

        1. They both call on us and kick us in the ribs after we ‘fell down the stairs’.

  15. A fairly small percentage of the population is without insurance of some kind so most people aren’t directly affected by the mandate. It seems likely to me that people care less about stuff that doesn’t affect them. So, I wonder why such a high proportion of respondents are against the mandate. Call me cynical, but I’m surprised by this.

  16. I don’t think the administration shares Drum’s confidence that this is a non-issue. You don’t bring two separate arguments justifying the mandate if it’s a slam dunk.

  17. Conservatives have no problem in general with mandating behavior. Nor do they have any problem with mandating affirmative behavior.

    Well, it rather matters what behavior you are mandating.

    To pick one at random “Thou shalt not kill” is a (negative) behavior mandate that is pretty uncontroversial, regardless of whether you are Tribe Blue or Tribe Red.

    To pick another at random, “Thou shalt pay the agreed upon price before taking the property of another” is an (affirmative) behavior mandate that is pretty uncontroversial, regardless of whether you are Tribe Blue or Tribe Red.

    Drum is essentially saying “Because you agree that the government can and should do some things, you cannot argue that it cannot and should not do everything.”

    Tired. So very tired.

    1. How about you have no Right to Privacy to take birth-control pills and we mandate a jail term for you if you violate our moral law to spit out every gob of cells we wish you to.

      1. Sounds justified based on your Liberal friends’ reading of the Commerce Clause.

        1. Bingo.

          Abortion clearly affects economic activity. By aborting someone, you’re eliminating thousands of future economic transactions.

          Therefore Congress may prohibit (or require) abortions under the Commerce Clause.

          Suck it, shriek.

  18. Let’s be honest: most Americans haven’t a clue regarding political-economic theory. They can’t define capitalism. Their personal beliefs are often inconsistent with or hostile to the principles of the Constitution. Few can name the Founders. They were born into the welfare state and they think it’s perfectly normal and proper. Big government is as natural to them as blue skies and green grass. And yet, they feel (in their gut, alas, not their brains) that something is profoundly wrong with the country. I’ve said it before: we’re drifting, and we’re susceptible to something very bad happening to us, because we’re unequipped intellectually to identify the root causes of all the ills we’re facing.

    1. I find myself agreeing with your analysis, disturbing as it is. America is ripe for a demagogue. We’re lucky Barry just sucked at it.

      1. It really wouldn’t take much for us to “elect” a dictator. Look at the powers FDR assumed during the Depression and WWII. Imagine what Obama could do with a Supreme Court tilted his way.

    2. You haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on for the last two years. Maybe not most Americans, but plenty enough are going to come out in droves in two weeks and put a stop to the madness.

      1. They’re about to put Republicans where Democrats are. It’s hardly a philosophical revolution. You can’t accomplish something meaningful on faith.

        1. Hopefully the movement will hold the Republicans on a tighter constitutional leash. I know, I’m a romantic fool, but I really believe there’s hope.

          1. I share that hope. I’m always optimistic, but I’m not confident about the long-term outlook. It’ll take an intellectual renaissance and we’re not equipped. Have you seen what the schoolchildren are learning? (Besides sexting, I mean.)

            1. My kids are getting a healthy dose of anti-authoritarianism thanks to public school uniforms and the Nazis that enforce them. You would almost think that it is their intention to make my kids hate those in power.

    3. yep – that is why I will never vote GOP again. Given complete control in 2002-07 they gave us –

      NCLB
      Medicare Fixed Price Pharma Welfare
      Patriot Spy Act
      Iraq War for nothing
      Terry Schiavo Intervention
      $1.3 trillion annual deficit
      TARP
      greatest Financial crisis since 1930’s
      disregard of civil liberties

      no thanks.

      1. Umm, you’re a big TARP fan, shriek. At the very least, you’re being even more inconsistent than usual if you feel the need to list in addition to the financial crisis.

        You don’t want to give the impression that you’re one of those libertarians idiots who opposed TARP, which averted a worse depression, that you keep savaging here, right?

        1. shriek’s had a corpus callosotomy. He can’t control himself. Don’t be too hard on the little psycho.

          1. Good Lord, there are two of him in there?

      2. yep – that is why I will never vote Donk again. Given complete control of Congress in 2006, and complete control of Congress and the Executive, they gave us –

        Healthcare ReformPatriot Spy Act (renewed)
        1.5 trillion per year deficits indefinitely
        TARP
        greatest Financial crisis since 1930’s
        disregard of civil liberties

        no thanks.

        1. Assassination of American citizens
          Attempting to expand internet wiretapping powers

        2. Well RC, the Ds don’t deserve you vote. But neither do the Rs. They had something to do with TARP, disregarded civil liberties, played a role in the financial crisis. The Rs love bailing out banking, revisit Bush Sr. bank bailout. On healthcare reform they are want to modify it, not repeal it. Renewing the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act isn’t worse than passing it into law.

          But puzzleing in the indefinite 1.5 trillion per year deficit. Is that to say you have no faith that the Rs will try to reduce that over time? Why indefinite?

        3. RC, I agree the Ds don’t deserve your vote, but neither do the Rs.

          Why do you think the 1.5 Trillion deficit is indefinite? Do you think the Rs will not do anything to fix that when in power?

          Renewing the P.A.T.R.I.O.T act isn’t worse than passing it in the first place.

          TARP has republican fingerprints all over it. Rs like bailing out banks, Bush Sr. did it too.

          Rs helped make the financial crisis, albeit Obamama made it worse, IMO.

          Rs disregard civil liberties too.

          And the Rs want to reform, not repeal, Obamacare to more their liking.

        4. RC, I agree the Ds don’t deserve your vote, but neither do the Rs.

          Why do you think the 1.5 Trillion deficit is indefinite? Do you think the Rs will not do anything to fix that when in power?

          Renewing the P.A.T.R.I.O.T act isn’t worse than passing it in the first place.

          TARP has republican fingerprints all over it. Rs like bailing out banks, Bush Sr. did it too.

          Rs helped make the financial crisis, albeit Obamama made it worse, IMO.

          Rs disregard civil liberties too.

          And the Rs want to reform, not repeal, Obamacare to more their liking.

        5. “”1.5 trillion per year deficits indefinitely””

          Why do you believe indefinitely?

      3. NCLB – Now in our control… needs expanding
        Medicare Fixed Price Pharma Welfare Good intentions, needs expanding
        Patriot Spy Act Reauthorized
        Iraq War for nothing We voted on it
        Terry Schiavo Intervention Government intervening into personal healthcare choices, novel idea.
        $1.3 trillion annual deficit Paul Krugman assures us this is really nothing to worry about
        TARP Not big enough… we now embrace trickle-down economics
        greatest Financial crisis since 1930’s And we’ll fix it the same way this time we fixed it last time.
        disregard of civil liberties what?

      4. RC, I agree the Ds don’t deserve your vote, but neither do the Rs.

        Why do you think the 1.5 Trillion deficit is indefinite? Do you think the Rs will not do anything to fix that when in power?

        Renewing the P.A.T.R.I.O.T act isn’t worse than passing it in the first place.

        TARP has republican fingerprints all over it. Rs like bailing out banks, Bush Sr. did it too.

        Rs helped make the financial crisis, albeit Obamama made it worse, IMO.

        Rs disregard civil liberties too.

        And the Rs want to reform, not repeal, Obamacare to more their liking.

    4. They were born into the welfare state and they think it’s perfectly normal and proper. Big government is as natural to them as blue skies and green grass.

      Unfortunately, I agree with this, too, and I’ve had similar thoughts lately. Many people just don’t care and don’t really want to even bother thinking these things through.

      As far as they’re concerned, “take home pay” (to use an example) is just the way things are and it’s silly to even bother worrying about it.

    5. They were born into the welfare state and they think it’s perfectly normal and proper. Big government is as natural to them as blue skies and green grass.

      Unfortunately, I agree with this, too, and I’ve had similar thoughts lately. Many people just don’t care and don’t really want to even bother thinking these things through.

      As far as they’re concerned, “take home pay” (to use an example) is just the way things are and it’s silly to even bother worrying about it.

    6. we’re drifting, and we’re susceptible to something very bad happening to us, because we’re unequipped intellectually to identify the root causes of all the ills we’re facing.

      Terrifying, isn’t it? I hope we’re wrong. I really do. I’d love for America to survive and be great and free and all. I just don’t see it staying that way…

  19. You’re projecting your own libertarian biases on the larger conservative population, which thinks you’re a whack job when they’re not hoping to get your vote.

  20. How about this?

    We lower the penalty for not purchasing insurance to one dollar, applied only once.

    We use it to buy the bullet we put through your brain if you show up at a hospital without either insurance, cash sufficient to cover all services, or a certified check to the same effect.

    Only idiot libertarians want to be able to go without insurance, and every damned one of you would then be perfectly happy to freeload by showing up at the hospital and sticking everyone else with the bill.

    1. Only idiot libertarians want to be able to go without insurance, and every damned one of you would then be perfectly happy to freeload by showing up at the hospital and sticking everyone else with the bill.

      What happened to healthcare being a right? What, now suddenly you liberals admit that it costs money?

      It’s amazing how quickly we go from “everyone should have access” to “kill everyone who can’t pay for their own care”.

      1. AND he’s willing to kill you if you aren’t Teh RICH – perfect

    2. Or… how about this. You don’t pay for your healthcare or persuade someone else to, you don’t get it. Novel idea, exchanging money for services.

      And I can’t speak for other libertarians, but I pay for my own insurance, and will continue to do so without big nanny reminding me. There’s a difference between believing someone should have the right to do something, and approving of them doing it.

      It’s really rich to hear you, mr. admitted communist, lecture others on freeloading.

      1. Jordan, pray tell how the emergency room staff is supposed to figure out who can or can’t pay and still provide timely service?

        Voodoo? Magic? Dowsing rods?

        1. Yes, if that was actually allowed to happen, it would be chaotic. Oh wait, hospitals have somehow been managing to operate for hundreds of years in a system without mandated insurance. My father is an ED physician. He knows from personal experience that the reason the ED is costing hospitals so much money isn’t because of freeloaders, it’s because of people with insurance who want costly tests for no reason or who come into the ED because they have a cold. They waste his time and cause traffic in the system. Medical costs are high because the demand for medical services is high, not because people can’t pay.

          1. Oh yeah, and the reason that high costs aren’t decreasing demand is because no one cares about the costs when they have insurance. Increasing the scope and amount of insurance in this country can only drive prices further up.

            1. Dude, you got it 100 percent correct right there. I’m old enough to remember when most people didn’t have insurance, and if they did it was for catastrophic care. Healthcare prices were one hell of a lot lower then, because when people had to pay for it themselves, they didn’t run to the doctor every time they had a sniffle. Insurance also allowed doctors and the medical establishment to charge more for their services.

          2. Heller: The third party payer problem truly is a problem with health insurance. However, it has no relation WHATSOEVER to who pays for the insurance (you, your boss, or the government). Hence, it is not an argument for any of those possibilities.

            Take a look a the systems in Japan or Singapore, for example. High co-insurance payments keep people cost-concious and limit frivolous spending.

    3. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      The sockpuppets are really going over the top lately.

    4. Chad|10.21.10 @ 7:06PM|#
      “Only idiot libertarians want to be able to go without insurance, and every damned one of you would then be perfectly happy to freeload by showing up at the hospital and sticking everyone else with the bill.”
      Spoof or ignoramus? You decide.

      1. Being the deciderer is hard…let’s go shopping!

    5. If I pay $2, can I put a bullet through your brain, too?

      This is assuming, of course, that you have one.

    6. What is it with you people and creating systems that are so inherently flawed that you have to resort to brutal violence to make them come remotely close to working?

    7. Or you pull the cash out of your fucking savings account because you exercise some fiscal discipline and don’t blow your cash at burgerking and netflix and pay the bitch yourself. That’s what I do. Dumbass..

  21. What is it with people who can’t understand that the market for health insurance is flawed as well? Adverse selection blows a mile wide hole in any health insurance scheme.

    The only solution is to insure everyone all the time. The proof is in the pudding, as it works everywhere it has been tried.

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      Keep ’em coming, sockpuppets; you guys are on fire lately.

      1. Chad is a Earmarxist, or at least he votes for them.

    2. Obviously, because health insurance is a zero-sum game. Either you have it and live longer or you don’t and you die.
      What the fuck did we do before Aetna and Kaiser? Oh, that’s right. You saved your goddamned money.

      Ecco Homo, Liberal Douche.

    3. Sure, mandating that everyone be insured for everything works in a literal sense, but the downside is that someone has to pay at the end of the day. In the rest of the world people pay by forfeiting 75% of their income to the government. There is no such thing as a free lunch MNG. Either we pay the lowest costs possible for medical care, as provided by a true free market, or we can pay higher costs ala the government. These are the two options. There is no way of getting around the fact that central planning will always be more expensive than the free market. No matter how much sleight of hand they pull off, we will pay.

    4. FYI: the expression is “the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” not “the proof is in the pudding.”

  22. Just wait until the government decides that the same justification for mandatory health insurance also justifies certain mandatory medical treatments. You can bet your ass that it will happen.

    1. It already does. State governments can authorize forced medication and forced electroconvulsion “therapy” for psychiatric survivors.

  23. once Glenn and Sean and Rush have them suitably foaming at the mouth …

    This is classic Liberal style. Throughout the healthcare debate, they kept saying how they were the only ones who care about patients, yet time after time, they rely on negative stereotypes about psychiatric survivors to insult their political opposition. It’s like saying “Opposition to nationalized healthcare is sooo wheelchair bound.”

  24. I would note, TrickyVic that the Dr. Visit they had the day before probably wouldn’t be that expensive– on average.

    Probably not.

    But when that visit results in either a diagnosis of an expensive condition, or even for expensive follow-up testing, under the new rules they can go out and get their insurance to cover those.

    Really, this is the only rational response, given the new rules of the game.

  25. Jordan, pray tell how the emergency room staff is supposed to figure out who can or can’t pay and still provide timely service?

    The authority to turn away “frequent fliers” would reduce uninsured ER losses considerably. A good-sized percentage of these losses are caused by a small number of people who the ER staff knows by sight.

    The authority to ask people who aren’t in an emergent condition to either pay up or show insurance would also help, a lot.

    Right now, turning away frequent fliers or asking for insurance before giving treatment are both illegal.

    1. The authority to ask people who aren’t in an emergent condition to either pay up or show insurance would also help, a lot.

      It always amazes me when people think we live in a binary world, i.e., our only choices are (a) hospitals must treat everyone, or (b) hospitals may absolutely demand insurance before rendering treatment.

      I would be okay with a law that required hospitals to treat true life-threatening emergencies. I don’t know why we can’t have this compromise, but apparently we’re so wrapped up in binary choices that we can’t.

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