Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Libertarian in Me Isn't So Sure About This

Universal Health Care in Massachusetts?

Umm... is requiring people to buy health insurance or face a penalty on their state taxes really a good idea? And at least, the state has thought through this enough to know that they need to offer subsidies to help folks out and exemptions for the people who still won't be able to afford it, but I'm still hitting a brick wall in trying to comprehend how requiring that individuals have health insurance (rather than simple trying to create a system in which basic health insurance is available to those who desire it at a reasonable rate) is, well, frankly, ethical.

The argument that it's for their own good doesn't work for me. Doesn't work for me with mandatory seat belt laws, won't work for me on this. And I'm not saying that the health care system in the US isn't broke or that trying to extend access to health coverage to the vast majority if not everyone is a bad thing. I just don't think that coercion of individuals by the government is the right way to go about it. Maybe indirect coercion where the system is fixed to the point that everyone has access to health insurance if they want it, and if an individual chooses not to have insurance he or she also accepts sole responsibility for any medical bills incurred.

Yeah, the libertarian isn't too delighted with this idea and seriously hopes that no feds decide they want to try and follow it. The conspiracy theorist is also thinking that its one short step from "You will have health insurance." to "You will turn your body over to the state health care system because it's for your own good. We want to make sure you get preventative health care. And now we're going to force you to get treatment for disease X. No, no, we don't care that you don't want treatment. You can't refuse." Yeah, yeah, I know slippery slope. Whatever. I did say I have a tendency to think in terms of conspiracy theories. Everyone is out to get me.

And then Putin made my day. Scary as the man is, I do love him for his tendency to tell the Shrub off, either subtly or not so subtly.

Putin to Shrub: My dog is bigger than your dog, little man.

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