As we await the Supreme Courts decision, let’s hope both sides aren’t disappointed with the unintended consequences. We may think we are free to do whatever we want without government intervention and that sounds great, but doing so in a large society has its consequences for everyone else.
We are focused on the mandate to carry coverage, perhaps we need equal focus on the impact of not carrying coverage.
Check out my blog post on Health Insurance Illuminated about the mandates we already accept.
By the way, you might want to read my other recent blog posts on Health Insurance Illuminated too.
The individual mandate to carry health insurance is under the microscope with a very basic question as to whether Congress has the authority to make such a requirement. Frankly, I don’t know the legal answer and given a unanimous verdict by the Supreme Court is unlikely, I guess no one else is 100% certain either. However, it seems to me that there is more than one way to create a mandate.
Take Medicare for example. Do you really have a choice of enrolling in Medicare? The obvious answer is yes you do, but hold on, is it a real choice? If you don’t want Medicare, can you buy other coverage instead? No you can’t, nobody can sell such coverage. Even coverage that supplements Medicare is regulated by the federal government and there is talk of trimming the coverage you can buy to pay your Medicare co-pays and deductibles.
Some people in Congress think too much insurance coverage leads to higher costs … they may have a point.
If you continue to work and have employer health coverage, you must keep your employer coverage even when you turn 65, you can’t use Medicare as your primary coverage even if you wanted to. Before this requirement was part of the Medicare law employers generally required you to use Medicare with the employer plan as supplemental.
If you delay enrolling in Medicare beyond your initial enrollment period, there is a penalty to pay. For Part B that penalty is ten percent for each year of delayed coverage; for Medicare Part D the penalty is 1% for each month you delay enrollment. In addition, you may enroll only during a three-month enrollment period held once each year. The reason for all this is simple; to prevent adverse selection when people enroll in coverage only when they anticipate using the benefits.
It seems that rules and regulations and penalties abound regarding your choices of health care, at least when you are as old as I am.
Granted the above are implicit mandates, but in the final analysis are they much different from the requirement to carry health insurance contained in the Affordable Care Act? This is the same logic used for the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act; if you don’t take coverage, you pay a penalty to partially offset the additional cost created by those who enroll only when they expect to use the coverage. I am still free to not enroll for health insurance, but rather than pay a surcharge or suffer a delay in coverage when I decide I need it, I am required to pay an upfront penalty.
Such limitations and penalties are designed not to protect the individual, but the pool of insured that must eventually carry the cost burden for less responsible citizens. Boy, I’m glad I am not on the Supreme Court.
This debate all comes down to these rather simple words crafted by our Founders in the Constitution outlining the rights of Congress:
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
Filed under: Government, Healthcare Tagged: Affordable Care Act, commerce clause, Constitution, health insurance, Medicare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Supreme Court of the United States
There used to be a time that stamps were kind of staple in most houses with all of the bill paying and the letter writing and old-fashioned correspondence. Now with email and online bill pay, the only time you need stamps are when you are sending Christmas cards or Birthday invitations. Maybe it’s because we only buy them 3-4 times per year but we basically have to build in a one week “forgot to get stamps” buffer zone in our planning for mailing stuff. It goes something like writing the word STAMPS on a note on the refrigerator, forgetting them and then circling the word a couple of times like that is going to ingrain the concept into our brains enough that stamps are all we think about. Usually, there is no less than 3 times that we drive away from a grocery store and as we exit one of us exclaims ‘STAMPS!!” We look at each other and shrug and then drive on
knowing hoping that soon one of us will triumph over forgetfulness and get the chore done. If I manage during that week to remember to pick up stamps somewhere, I usually present them to my wife followed by some silly touchdown celebration dance. Finally remembering that thing that you keep forgetting is totally sweet. Yesterday we got a bright orange envelope in the mail that we can put a check into (if we can find the checkbook that never gets used anymore) and the mail-person will take the money and leave stamps in our mailbox! How are the most obvious ideas sometimes the most elusive? This solves all of those stamp forgetting problems. But I can see it now somewhere down the road written on note on the fridge circled three times “find orange stamp envelope!!”
Surely I am not the only one that has been in the kitchen at 6:00 A.M. with their eyes still half closed trying to figure out if the best way to wake up would be to just make a pot of coffee or get in a fight about whose turn it was to set the coffee pot timer. Well it is at a moment like that still adjusting my eyes to the blaring kitchen light that I will hear a gentle rumbling down the block and instantly have a bolt of adrenaline course through my body and jolt me out of my haze. Caffeine works great to wake you up but not near as much as the sudden panic that IT IS GARBAGE DAY!! and you forgot to put the can by the road. Instantly my mind sharpens and I have military type precision and focus. I bound out of the house leaving modesty behind as I grab the can and make a dash for the curb in my pajamas. I see the truck coming down the street and realize I am going to make it in time. My mind relaxes and I am victorious. As my cat-like reflexes recoil and I breath in the sweet morning air I am wide awake and suddenly aware of a few things that didn’t garner my attention mid dash. My feet are soaking wet from the dew, I really need to cut the grass, it is kind of chilly this morning, the fly on these boxers does not stay closed very good mid sprint and that is quite a draft, oh hey there are the neighbor’s kids walking to the bus stop. That is one short-lived victory once you realize you are standing in your front yard in your underwear. Why didn’t I just remember the night before? Forgetting to take out the trash is totally weak.
Do you remember this little quote, “I did nothing ‘inappropriate’ in airport bathroom.” That was another sex scandal that rocked the media cycle back in 2007. Amazingly, these are the very people legislating us.
But the truth of the matter it’s all part of the smoke and mirrors to keep us from focusing our attention on the real problems like taxpayer funded banker bailouts that lined the bankers pockets worldwide or unconstitutional wars or the thugs at “DAS” TSA. Wake up America, we need to take OUR government back. Repeal the 17th Amendment NOW!