Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Few Arguments Against Mandates From the President of the United States

No one has been more vocally opposed to mandates in health care than Barack Obama.  During his numerous campaign debates with Hillary Clinton he repeatedly argued against them and challenged Hillary on what her proposed punishments for those who failed to purchase health insurance would be.  Under his leadership the Senate and House have proposed mandatory fines and jail time for those who fail to purchase health insurance.

Under the current Senate health care proposal premiums will go up according to the CBO.  Despite Obama's  protestations about making health care affordable instead of mandating coverage, the bill will make it harder for people to afford health care while they will face increasingly larger fines.  The Baucus Senate Finance Committee bill also included jail time for failing to purchase health care insurance.   I wonder how he would have responded had Hillary Clinton answered any of the following questions the way Obama has as President of the United States.

January 31, 2008

What they're struggling with is they can't afford the health care. And so I emphasize reducing costs. My belief is that if we make it affordable, if we provide subsidies to those who can't afford it, they will buy it.

Senator Clinton has a different approach. She believes that we have to force people who don't have health insurance to buy it. Otherwise, there will be a lot of people who don't get it.

OBAMA: I don't see those folks. And I think that it is important for us to recognize that if, in fact, you are going to mandate the purchase of insurance and it's not affordable, then there's going to have to be some enforcement mechanism that the government uses. And they may charge people who already don't have health care fines, or have to take it out of their paychecks. And that, I don't think, is helping those without health insurance. That is a genuine difference.

OBAMA: Now, under any mandate, you are going to have problems with people who don't end up having health coverage. Massachusetts right now embarked on an experiment where they mandated coverage.

And, by the way, I want to congratulate Governor Schwarzenegger and the speaker and others who have been trying to do this in California, but I know that those who have looked at it understand, you can mandate it, but there's still going to be people who can't afford it. And if they cannot afford it, then the question is, what are you going to do about it?

Are you going to fine them? Are you going to garnish their wages?

You know, those are questions that Senator Clinton has not answered with respect to her plan, but I think we can anticipate that there would also be people potentially who are not covered and are actually hurt if they have a mandate imposed on them.

The reason she thinks that there are more people covered under her plan than mine is because of a mandate. That is not a mandate for the government to provide coverage to everybody; it is a mandate that every individual purchase health care.

And the mailing that we put out accurately indicates that the main difference between Senator Clinton's plan and mine is the fact that she would force in some fashion individuals to purchase health care.

If it was not affordable, she would still presumably force them to have it, unless there is a hardship exemption as they've done in Massachusetts, which leaves 20 percent of the uninsured out. And if that's the case, then, in fact, her claim that she covers everybody is not accurate.
Now, Senator Clinton has not indicated how she would enforce this mandate. She hasn't indicated what level of subsidy she would provide to assure that it was, in fact, affordable.

SEN. OBAMA: And the last point I would make is, the insurance companies actually are happy to have a mandate. The insurance companies don't mind making sure that everybody has to purchase their product. That's not something they're objecting to. The question is, are we going to make sure that it is affordable for everybody? And that's my goal when I'm president of the United States.

But it has to do with how we are going to achieve universal health care. That is an area where I believe that if we make it affordable, people will purchase it. In fact, Medicare Part B is not mandated, it is voluntary. And yet people over 65 choose to purchase it, Hillary, and the reason they choose to purchase it is because it's a good deal. And if people in Cleveland or anywhere in Ohio end up seeing a plan that is affordable for them, I promise you they are snatching it up because they are desperate to get health care. And that's what I intend to provide as president of the United States.

Under cover of darkness, in just a bit over two hours, the Senate will vote for cloture on this travesty of health care legislation.  As others have said, only criminals need to operate like this -hiding in the dark in the middle of the night.  While children are nestled all snug in their beds the Senate is coming  to take away their liberty.  Watch the kabuki theater unfold as they pat themselves on the back for covering an additional 30 million people.  They cover them largely by threatening the IRS will be the collection agency for health insurers.  If that doesn't work they'll put them in jail.  

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