Obamacare’s individual mandate — which Barack Obama opposed as a candidate — requiring all U.S. households to purchase insurance has been opposed from the beginning of this debate by conservatives. The belief is that it is an infringement on individual liberty and unconstitutional to require people to purchase anything as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.
The thread in the Democrats’ and even some Republicans’ health care proposals has been that since people would be required to purchase health care, the government would step in and help those who couldn’t afford it on their own. This would be done through subsidies, vouchers, a government health insurance plan, co-ops, exchanges — something.
Now, however, the Senate plan has dropped the public option and other methods to get people cheap, government-linked health insurance.
As the Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell reports this morning, that has started to rally the Left against an individual mandate, since there would be no fallback for people required to buy insurance. Howard Dean’s Democracy for America said:
What they are actually talking about is something called the “individual mandate.” That’s a section of the law that requires every single American (to) buy health insurance or break the law and face penalties and fines. So, the bill doesn’t actually “cover” 30 million more Americans — instead it makes them criminals if they don’t buy insurance from the same companies that got us into this mess.
That’s all somewhat disingenuous, I think–the government as much as insurance companies helped get us into this mess–but it exposes the inconsistency of the Senate health care proposal and how its backers continue to mislead the American people.
All of this exposes the desire of the Democratic leadership to get something/anything passed on health care, no matter how convoluted or vulnerable it is to unintended consequences (discussed by Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner here).
In fact, as Don Wade of WLS-AM put it the other day, a president with a 44 percent approval rating is trying to get a Congress with a 28 percent approval rating to pass a health care bill that only 34 percent of the American people want.
While I don’t believe we should govern according to the whims of every poll, these numbers have been consistent enough to reveal what we have until, at least, the next congressional election:
A Democratic dictatorship.