The House health care reform bill carries two clauses that are upsetting a lot of people.
- Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
- Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.”
That’s right. Buy health care or go to jail. Here is video clip with Speaker Nancy Pelosi being asked the question. You might notice that her smile quickly fades away.
There are multiple questions that come to mind when I ponder on this, not all them consistent with each other.
- Some health care reform opponents are claiming that forcing Americans to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. Why would it be any different than social security insurance which Americans are forced to buy or car insurance that states have effectively forced drivers to purchase?
- If Americans are forced to buy health care insurance, and threatened with fines and jail time if they do not, then illegal immigrants must be allowed to buy into the plan also. If the plan is to reduce emergency room costs, then 12 million people running around without any coverage belittles the keep-the-costs-down argument to buy health insurance or go to jail.
- Imprisonment is a lot more expensive than health care, and while in prison an inmate is provided free health care by the state, anyway. This only means that some branch of the government is going to pay a lot more by imprisoning someone who does not buy health insurance than letting them run free as a productive citizen and fining them. I assume the intent here is to persuade deviant citizens that it buying health insurance is the easiest choice to make. However, anyone who can afford health insurance and does not is so dumb-headed and wrong-thinking that the fear of jail is not likely to work either.
- Why is it that politicians of all persuasions must always use the rod of imprisonment to get their way? The United States imprisons more of its citizens than any country in the world, excepting crazy places like North Korea.
- How is all this going to work with America’s huge number of homeless? Few of the homeless are going to have the money to buy health insurance. Few of the homeless will even take part in the subsidies offered. Many do not even take part in the services offered to the homeless because they are out of the mainstream of society or mentally ill.
- Is this going to be another charge that can be tacked onto hard-to-pin criminals like tax evasion was to Al Capone?
- Finally, that brings up the matter of enforcement. Are we going to have health police knocking on doors, presenting search warrants and asking for your ID and health insurance cards?