Did We Forget Why We Are Here?

Freedom – that is why we are here, is it not?! How did our great nation begin…. somewhere in there, was a quest, a yearning, for freedom. Freedom from what? Freedom from any large entity dictating to us – telling us how we must live our lives, no taxation without representation, of speech, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We need our government, to keep us safe as a nation, to maintain our rights as individuals and to/from each other – I don’t have the right to trample anybody else’s rights. And to those ends, I completely understand we owe it to ourselves to keep our government strong enough to accomplish those tasks. But when one entity, even our own government, mandates that I must pay a tax or a penalty solely for NOT buying into “their” health insurance system, simply because I breathe, are not my rights trampled?! The Boston tea party protested such a thing, did it not? And just because I have more than one option, to take away my individual right to choose, to buy or not buy, is an equal, if not worse injustice – because it is disguised as having a choice. And when the highest court in our great land fails to fiercely uphold the very basic premise of our existence in these United States of America, the door is open for the government to micromanage every part of our lives so deemed as a tax for the good of all. I love the United States of America – we have more freedom here than anywhere in the world, but when the leaders of our government seek to manage us, to make us behave, for our own good, to parent us – not talking about the price we pay for privileges, but a price to simply “exist” – that goes beyond the basic social good, beyond the basic protections it should provide – we must re-examine: Why are we here? If we were not allowed to question and continue to contemplate our leadership, our evolving government, and our desires as a nation, we would not be free. It is our glorious and complex past that has lead us here – let us not forget – let us be thankful – and continue to question our journey. Happy 4th of July!!

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Henry Brown

Don’t believe your rights are trampled because you are required to buy anything… Do you feel that your rights are trampled because you are required to have insurance if you drive a car or even that you have to buy a drivers license ? Because you have to buy insurance when you purchase a home? Because you have to “register” your business?

Yes I know that all these examples are where you have a choice to participate in these activities..

Now if you are the .5% who can pay for said medical care out of your personal funds probably not a terribly justified expense, but would offer that you pay several taxes a day which are probably even less justified… (pay for fire protection in case you have a fire, pay for road repair for roads that you will never use, pay for solving crimes against you; pay for the education of children(even if you don’t have children) .And the “tax” for providing universal health care is somewhat reasonable (maximum $600 per year in 3 years) Would offer that you pay more taxes for other things which you do NOT use

IMO most of the “rant” against this law is not about some people having to carry insurance but not wanting to pay for universal health care! Well Surprise, you are paying for universal health care now? Who do you think pays for health care for someone who does not have insurance now? …

Peter Sperry

Well said Ms Whittle. There is a major difference between requirments to insure against doing harm to others during an activity you can choose not to participate in and requirments to insure yourself against risks you may be willing to assume without support from others. Also, while it is easy do demonstrate compassion with other peoples resources, pariticularly if the government can be used as an itermediary to compel surrender of those resources, most people would prefer to make their own choices regarding how and to whom they provide charitable assistance.

Having said that, most people recognize a sociatal obligation to make available the first tier of goods in Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs to any who can not provide them for themselves. These goods must be obtained somehow and distributed according to somesort of acceptable formula. When all other support structures have failed (individual effort, family, local NGOs, etc) to meet thses needs, it does seem appropriate for govenment to step in as the provider of last resort. In doing so government should first seek to do no harm, extracting the minimium resources from tax or rate payers necessary to provide basic needs and doing so in a way that neither encourages freeriders nor compels unwilling participation. The most effective means of achiveng these goals contiues to be the subject of much debate.

I concur with your judgement that the current health care law meets none of them. Personally, I would prefer a system whereby subsidies were provided according to a needs based formula for low income individuals and families to purchase health care insurance on the open market. Individuals with the financial means to obtain health insurance on their own or through their employer should be free to do so or not as they choose. However, individuals regardless of income who choose not to obtain insurance using a subsidy, through their employer or with thier own assets and later seek financial assistance from the government for health care expenses should be required to repay that assistance through payroll or retirement benefit deductions prior to repayment of all other debts and subject to a government lien against all of their assets. While no one would be absolutely required to purchase health insurance against their will; The availability of low income subsidies and the impact of government healthcare loan repayment regulations on the credit scores of the uninsured should be sufficient to minimize freeriders. Essentially, the government would provide the resources necessary for those with low incomes to obtain health insurance. The credit rating ageniceis would provide the motivation to do so. Individuals and families would remain free to make thier own choices. The carrots and sticks which are a natural part of almost all meaningful decisions would come not from compulsary particiapation requirements but from individual judgements reagarding the value of a good credit score and the desire to protect assests earned over a lifetime from loss due to unforeseen medical expenses.

Emi Whittle

Thanks for the nice debate! That’s what makes our country great! (And I rhymed!) I so agree that our health care system needs help; lots of it. And don’t assume I have money to spare! My qualm has to do with if I have very little money, I want to make my own choice about- do I buy food for my child, health insurance for me, or life insurance, etc. I’d rather be free, of course, to choose to feed my child, first, and then to buy life insurance next, but now that choice has been taken away. And I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes at all. In fact, I’d be more OK if my taxes were raised, but I were allowed to keep my own ability to choose to purchase health insurance for me. I do believe we need to take care of each other, and that if we fall upon hard times, I hope first to rely upon myself and the provisions I have made for my own future and the benefits which my employers and my taxes have paid for…. rather than being forced to spend my money in a certain fashion. I know everything is a trade off – nothing comes without a price. I also feel that our insurance industry among other entities is problematic. There are many issues that feed in to that, and no solution is perfect. But, I still feel like we live in the best Nation history has ever seen. I just hope we can stay that way. (Nice plan outline Mr. Sperry! Are you running for office?)

Henry Brown

Would hope the if “people/we/us” will keep a civil tongue in the “debate” over this subject that we will not only progress toward a better solution but we will continue to be the BEST nation in History…

@ Peter… as Emi says with some expansion, If you are not running for office would suggest that maybe you ought to consider it

Emi Whittle

@Henry Brown I know, I feel like our tax system is so crazy. Too many taxes all over. If only there was a good way to just have one tax, even if I paid it in one painful lump, I tend to think that would be better. And I agree yes there are so many things we all pay for every day – and the code is so darn complicated! I am a reasonably educated person and still had/have so much trouble trying to make sure I catch everything. I know I should just spend (more) money and hire an expert, but would it be so bad if our taxes were so simple that we could all easily understand it? I know I complain a lot and I ask for a lot, and there would be more trade offs if that were the case. Thanks for listening! Maybe @Mr. Sperry has good ideas for that one too?