OBAMA CARE...So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This is a statement of our most basic individual rights. Over the centuries our human rights have been abused and eroded but always one could still say (...most of the time, in this country...) one could mind their own business and be left totally alone to live their life with no interference from anyone. But with this new health care bill, soon everyone will have to pay a fee to the government, or insurance company, for being alive.

...our last tiny bit of absolute liberty will be erased.

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Uh, no, you will not have to pay a fee for "being alive" - where ever did you get that idea? You will have to pay a fine (which will be income-adjusted) for not having health insurance. That's what the mandate means. If you have health insurance then you are good to go. No worries about a fee or a fine.

The mandate is a good thing. You may not like the mandate but it protects all of us from "free riders." Protects all of us from moochers and looters who don't want to buy health insurance. And, yes, unless you have thousands and thousands socked away, I am talking to you. Because if you or your spouse or your kid get really sick or badly injured, who do you think ends up paying after you've run through your savings (if you even have any)? I do. And, you know what, if you could have afforded to buy health insurance but chose not to that really pisses me off. With this new law I don't have to be so pissed off.

I've always been amazed by the number of tea partiers who don't have health insurance. WTF? I guess they think Jeebus will provide or keep them well or something. But you know who provides if you or your spouse or your kid gets really sick or injured? Do you know who provides if you can't work because of an illness or injury? I do and so do the rest of the taxpayers in this country.

Look, sensible, responsible people buy health insurance. If you choose not to and have a medical crisis where you rack up thousands of dollars in bills you can't pay, why should I pay for your poor decision making?

That is the problem with libertarians: they care only for their own liberties and don't give a damn about other people's. So, yeah, don't tread on me, Ralph.
Look, sensible, responsible people buy health insurance. If you choose not to and have a medical crisis where you rack up thousands of dollars in bills you can't pay, why should I pay for your poor decision making?

I would/will be all for the mandate when and only when there is a truly affordable public option on the table. And to many of us poor, 'affordable' means something under $75/month. Something akin to an electric bill.

Until then, bear in mind that sensible, responsible people also weigh out the risks when we simply can not afford everything we want or need to survive. Right now, a real health insurance plan will cost somewhere between 50%-100% of what I earn. What I earn is not enough even for a stable home (homeless for 3 years now).

So it's at that point that I do play those odds and not buy insurance. If it's something catastrophic/life-threatening, the ER will treat me and yes, the taxpayers get stuck with the bill. But I'm alive. If it's something minor, I treat it myself as best I can. I've sutured my own gashes. I buy painkillers and RX meds illegally in Mexico.

But it allows me to eek out an existence, which I can just do on my current $720/month. How much of that would any of us give up in order to not have the taxpayers cover our occasional ER bills? Last time I checked I can get ok insurance on my own for around $400/month, leaving me $320/month to live on. Could you live on that? Food, transportation to and from work, work clothes, shelter, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, clean underwear, shoes, a new hairbrush, a new pair of glasses, blanket, raincoat ... did I mention shelter? And trust me, we do pay for it. Each unpaid ER bill piles onto my credit report. Anymore, most employers require a good credit score before they'll hire you, so those unpaid ER bills are further preventing me from getting a job decent enough to provide insurance, which dooms me to more unpaid ER bills, and back, and forth, and back, and forth...

That said, I do agree with a mandate in principle, but again, ONLY if one can afford it. My health or lack thereof does affect those around me. I also agree with mandatory auto insurance, but in reality not everyone needs a car. The theory is, if you can afford a car you can afford insurance.

But health insurance - I wonder if this is what the OP means by "A fee for being alive." It sort of is if that's how you want to look at it. But I would ask Ralph...

@ Ralph -

You Ralph just got hit by a bus. You can be saved by the ER but we have to hurry and we don't have time to determine whether or not you can foot the estimated $250,000 bill. Do we let you die because we don't know if we'll get paid? Or do we treat you regardless?

If you have an ounce of humanity, you'll say we should treat regardless. So we treat you. And guess what, you're uninsured and you can't pay. How then do you propose we recoup our money?

A) We don't. Doctors, Nurses, Medical suppliers should all work and provide services pro bono.

B) The government pays for it all.

C) The government pays for some and requires everyone to chip in for the rest (i.e.; buy insurance).

Because those are your choices Ralph. Plain and simple. You and I pay the insurance company, you and I pay taxes, or we let the bastard die. Your choice.
I am absolutely in favor of a public option. Unfortunately, it was not in the political cards just yet. I think it will happen at some time, hopefully, soon. And, in the mean time I think some of the provisions in the bill will help those who can't afford health insurance to purchase it. Don't know the exact provisions but I do believe that the bill also some income adjustments for the fine you have to pay if you do not buy insurance.

Really, down the road I am hoping that we can get close to single payer - medicare for all.

My rant on the mandate was directed at the loonie, off the grid types who seem to have no idea that or how their actions impact the rest of us (not at people who are hurting because of the mucked-up health care delivery system we have). Your "you get hit buy a bus and are uninsured hypthetical" is spot on. Unfortunately, so many of these off the grid types are so far out of touch with reality that I don't think your analysis would even register.
The hard fact is, wherever there is a system there will be people who exploit it. There are actually a lot fewer 'welfare queens' than urban legend would have us believe.

What irks me even more is the Ralphs out there who claim to be so against the system, but when given the chance will take all they can from it. How many Teabaggers over 65 aren't on Medicare? How many are tearing up their social security checks out of protest? I work a lot of seasonal jobs and it's the hardline Republicans who will brag the loudest about how in the off season, they're going to collect every penny of unemployment and welfare they can and play golf all Winter.

To think: I actually agonized over my decision to go on unemployment this winter for a few months of health care.
How many Teabaggers over 65 aren't on Medicare?

This is so true. I saw a segment of senior citizens on Fox News, all of them talking about how they don't want the health care "shoved down their throat" (a catchphrase repeated ad nauseum on that channel). What do they care about anyone else? As long as they're getting their benefits and social security. Maybe they're even worried about losing some of it.
What you represent to them...

...is freedom.

Freedom's what it's all about.

Oh yeah, that's right.
That's what it's all about.

But talking about it and being it...

...that's two different things.

lt's real hard to be free...

...when you are bought and sold
in the marketplace.

Don't tell anybody that they're not
free, because they'll get busy...

...killing and maiming
to prove to you that they are.

They're going to talk to you
and talk to you...

...about individual freedom.

But they see a free individual,
it's going to scare them.

Well, it don't make them
running scared.

lt makes them dangerous.

Jack Nicholson to Dennis Hopper...Easy Rider
Insurers can't turn people down for pre-existing conditions under the new health care bill - I am not sure when that goes into effect -but I think soon. So, your parents should be able to get health insurance. The fine will not be applied retroactively.

The rest of the free world has social health care.
What you are doing is not quite social health care... but it's a step in the right direction.

We're not living under the barrel of a gun. There's no commie flags flying. We still have the same liberties as (,some nations have a few more than) the US.

Your paranoid fears of dictatorship, tyranny, and pretty much all of this 'headless chicken' neuroses has amounted to one thing and one thing only : Something for the rest of the world to laugh at on the evening news.

I don't know who is pushing the fear mongering, republican propaganda, and paranoia over there... or how so many of you are blindly falling for it... but it's making for some great comedy over here.

Seriously, next time someone starts freaking out about "tyranny" and "Armageddon", find out if he's just a nut job before joining in.
Start thinking for yourselves.
And stop getting your facts from people pushing propaganda.
It's been pretty embarrassing being an American since Faux News started warping people's minds. How does the rest of the world resist Rupert Murdoch's crapaganda? Why are Americans so susceptible?
I'm currently reading a book by Susan Jacoby titled "The Age of American Unreason" and she does explain this "susceptibility" you're wondering about.

Jacoby discusses historical events that influence the worldview of the American Christian fundamentalist and the anti-intellectual aspects of it all. I'm only on the 3rd chapter but I'm finding the book very insightful. Our public education system is also part of the problem because so many regional disparities exist and American children learn subjects like biology differently depending on where they live. Public schools boards are local....standardization of curriculum is difficult to quantify.

A distrust of science has taken hold, also, and American media outlets have done a lousy job providing rational, secular, fact-based discussions that could better inform the public. There has been a dumbing down of science. Our students rank very low when it comes to scientific knowledge and reading comprehension. Without learning critical thinking skills, adults find themselves sucked into the lowest common denominator of knowledge: What they absorb from their politically biased television screen.
It's been pretty embarrassing being an American since Faux News started warping people's minds.

I would love to get back to my pride in the good old days, when American Patriots like Oliver North were shining examples of America's benevolence, and Dan Quayle's ascension to the vice presidency demonstrated that cognitive impairment was no longer a barrier to high office. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.
Yeah, I've been meaning to read Jacoby's book. It's on a long list of stuff I should read. I did read Al Gore's The Assault on Reason, which is pretty good. He sorta blames TV for our ever-shortening attention span, and it's hard to argue with that, but he also slams the good old American anti-intellectual streak. Local school boards are a serious problem. They are so subject to political whim and capture by zealots. Religion is strongly to blame, but there's something uniquely American about our glorification of selfishness and stupidity. What other culture thinks education is a suspicious activity? Fundamentalist Islamic cultures. Who else?

The latest Free Inquiry has a reprint of a John Dewey essay from 1937 (not available online). Fascinating summation of the unique dangers of American conceptions of liberty. The kind of libertarian "all I need is my gun and my 40 acres and I can hold out against the evil government" crap that worked reasonably well when everybody could actually have 40 acres, but that by 1937 had long since begun to work against our freedoms writ large.

This distorted, stunted concept of liberty basically encourages anti-government conspiracy nutjobbery to the exclusion of pretty much anything else. Sort of the way this thread started, with the conclusion that universal health care is somehow inimical to our freedoms, rather than a necessary underpinning of them. As de Tocqueville said, democracies get the government they deserve.



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