In a recent Forbes column, Yaron Brook and Don Watkins expose the dishonesty behind those who appeal to “personal responsibility” to support mandatory health insurance. Some excerpts:
Personal responsibility? Forcing people to buy insurance they may neither want nor need has nothing to do with personal responsibility. Real personal responsibility would mean that a healthy 24-year-old struggling to buy his first home or start his first business would be free to decide that he is better off putting money aside for possible medical bills and foregoing health insurance (or buying a relatively cheap plan to cover only catastrophic care–something generally unavailable today thanks to government regulations that require plans to cover everything from an annual physical to massage therapy).
…the ability of people to get a free ride is possible only because of government policies. When America’s health care system was freer, people who lacked health insurance could not just show up at a hospital and demand free treatment. But the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986 forced emergency rooms that acceptand patients to treat all comers, regardless of their ability to pay.
Anyone genuinely concerned with eliminating free rides would advocate repealing the EMTALA, and phasing out programs like Medicare, Medicaid and S-CHIP, which allow people to pawn off their health care costs on others. But that is not what really concerns supporters of the individual mandate. Just as the whole point of the EMTALA (and Medicare, and Medicaid) is to enable some people to “get treated for free” by having “other people carrying the burdens,” so it goes for ObamaCare’s individual mandate. …
What they’re selling, however, isn’t American-style individualism but the collectivist notion that each of us has a responsibility to sacrifice for the needs of others.
Read the whole article at Forbes.com: The Irresponsible Individual Mandate.
Related article: Mandatory Insurance and. Cost-Shift Hypocrisy. The cost-shift from the uninsured is much less than those from Medicaid, and political controls that force you to buy more costly insurance than you’d like.