This past weekend on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, President Barack Obama attempted to defend what has become known as the Baucus/Obama Health Care Plan. Much of what he said was firmly planted in the “nothing new” category however. Obama has clearly chosen his talking points and is sticking to them. In the end, they are little more than bromides meant to pacify people who want to believe his rhetoric. So, I half way listened as he droned on until George, to his credit, asked the President the following question:
There is a lot wrong here, however the thing that really jumped out at me was Obama’s comparison of the proposed health plan penalty to compulsory auto liability insurance. This is simply nothing but a flat misrepresentation of the truth. It is clear that the Obama administration plans to use this comparison as one of their key arguments in justify their case and is tossing it out there to see if we are dumb enough to buy it. What Obama is really saying here is, “I mean look, you already have to have compulsory auto liability insurance, and no one really thinks that this is a tax or an imposition on their individual freedom, so why on earth would any sane person be opposed to a health care penalty?” Here is the problem:
First – Compulsory automobile liability insurance is a state issue, not a federal issue. There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that provides for federal mandatory insurance. Nothing.
Second – In direct contrast to what Obama wants folks to believe, automobile liability insurance is not mandatory. Not in the least. The fact is, it is only required if someone wants a driver’s licence.
This is a dramatically different reality than Obama tries to portray in his interview. In fact, one could infer that the over simplification is so blatant that it amounts to nothing less that a purposeful distortion of the truth.
Let me demonstrate exactly how absurd this comparison is – If we truly were to apply Obama’s health care penalty principle to the auto insurance industry, it would mean that every person would be required to have a driver’s license and approved insurance when they turned 16 years of age. Those who decided that they would not get a license and use public transportation instead, would then be fined an additional sum of money in order to pay their “share” of liability. The case would be made that non-drivers were driving up insurance costs because they would be a “drain” on the liability insurance pool. Specifically, they could have damage, sue, and get insurance money, but never put anything back into the insurance system themselves. Put this way, the argument is absolutely absurd. The thing that troubles me most, is that it is our President attempting to employ this fallacious comparison.
The truth is, for the first time in American history, we have an administration that wants to tax each and every citizen for the privilege of living! Unlike any other type of compulsory insurance or tax, the only thing one has to do to be subject to this tax is – be born. The tax will then be collected either through your compulsory government plan payment or your penalty for opting out. It is in essence President Obama’s “Life Tax,” and if he has his way each one of us will be obligated to pay it for the rest of our lives.
Obama makes his case for this tax penalty on the premise that we all pay a few hundred dollars more in our insurance premiums to compensate for uncovered healthcare. This fact is true, however, it is also true for every single industry in our free enterprise system. We pay more at the grocery store to compensate for stolen food, but there is no “grocery store tax penalty” for folks who grow their own veggies. We pay more at the movie theaters to cover the films that tanked and no one went to see (like Terminator 10), but folks who don’t go to the movies do not have to pay a “crappy movie penalty.” We pay more for life and property insurance to cover fraudulent claims, but there is no “life insurance penalty” for single folks who decide to rent. Why would we charge a penalty in one area and not all? It is simply – insane.
In his attempt to use this ridiculous auto insurance analogy, Obama betrays his real intent. If Obama really wanted to reduce individual health care costs, he could save the average tax payer thousands of dollars annually through tort reform, interstate insurance competition, and health care tax credits. The truth is, he is not interested in saving you or I anything. He could truly care less. What he wants is a Life Tax. Once he has it, it will be a mere formality for the government to add other penalties to it as they deem fit. At first it will be between $900 and $3800 per individual, but it will surely rise as government health care costs go through the roof. One can safely expect that within just a few years there will be add-on penalties for such items as obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, dangerous jobs, or even old age. Obama will be taxing us for the privilege of breathing. But don’t breath too much, or you may have to buy an individual carbon offset…
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Chuck, as I laid out on my blog, I don’t think this is a tax. I do think it’s illegal, unconstitutional, and dangerous.
Your destruction of the auto insurance analogy is precise and thorough, though I continue to be disappointed by how much resonance that analogy has with people. Maybe that’s just because driving is as essential as breathing here in Atlanta, but people can’t see the difference between the two. The best way I’ve been able to explain it (other than the means you employ) is this:
Under the Obama mandate, from the moment you are born, you must be insured. Even when you have no capacity to earn a living, you must be insured. Though you are making no decisions about your care or livelihood, you must be insured. You cannot form words to explain to the government that you have no assets, but you must be insured. You don’t know what numbers or letters are, but you must select an affordable plan, sign a policy and be insured. If you don’t pay your fine by the time you are five, you can be imprisoned.
How is this like auto insurance, exactly?
Well stated, OS!
It is too bad that this whole circus really has little to do with health care per se, but instead is being used by Obama and the statist crowd simply as an opportunity to gather the reins of power even more tightly by taking over completely this enormous industry and binding it to the government forever.
There are so many ways that the executive branch is circumnavigating the Constitution that it is impossible to keep track of them all and unfortunately Congress is simply rolling over in submission and the judiciary is in cahoots with the political majority of the moment.
At the end of the day, this is about fining people for simply being people. Our country now has a cover charge.
That was an article from the American Missive that I know Marque had commented on a while back. It is appearing to make reference to the fact that it is unconstitutional, which I wholeheartedly agree with and it gives references to cases:
“The otherwise uninsured would be required to buy coverage, not because they were even tangentially engaged in the “production, distribution or consumption of commodities,” but for no other reason than that people without health insurance exist. The federal government does not have the power to regulate Americans simply because they are there. Significantly, in two key cases, United States v. Lopez (1995) and United States v. Morrison (2000), the Supreme Court specifically rejected the proposition that the commerce clause allowed Congress to regulate noneconomic activities merely because, through a chain of causal effects, they might have an economic impact. These decisions reflect judicial recognition that the commerce clause is not infinitely elastic and that, by enumerating its powers, the framers denied Congress the type of general police power that is freely exercised by the states.”
I would really like to get to the bottom of this as to whether it truly could be considered Constitutional by our judiciary.