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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/9/09

Health Insurance: Pay Up or We'll Make You Sick

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f fixing healthcare, Congress is proposing to put the fix on the poor taxpayer by fining him/her for not taking out healthcare. That's like fining someone for being the victim of a crime (at least if you believe, as I do, that healthcare is a 'right' not a privilege).

Requiring health insurance is not like requiring car insurance - a poor analogy that is often made. You can live without a car, or at least, get a cheaper car or move, you can't live without a healthy body and mind.

It's true, some people do "choose" to go without insurance - an uninformed choice, to be sure, since anyone can get sick at any time - but most people without insurance are without it because they have no choice. Penalizing them with Senator Max Baucus's (D-Montana) $3,800 fine (per person? per family?) is just mean and harmful. Many people would be pushed into bankruptcy from that kind of sudden expense - maybe they are teetering already, because, like so many Americans, they lost their health insurance and got sick (the #1 reason for bankruptcy). This kind of perverse punishment is like the old Debtor's prison, where people were once thrown - thereby making them unable to pay their debts because they couldn't find a job while being inside prison.

Others on this site and elsewhere have explained in detail many viable ways to solve our healthcare crisis (the do-nothing Republicans and (I'll-hold-my-breath-until-I'm) Blue (in-the-face) Dog Democrats refuse to even acknowledge there is a crisis, and have even succeeded, incredibly, in getting people to argue against their own best interests at raucous Town Hall meetings). So, I won't repeat them here. However, for the sake of our citizens, of our country, and even our competitiveness in the world, we need to do what every other advanced nation in the world does and provide for affordable health insurance, not reward an already over-priced industry with more sheep to slaughter.


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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)

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