A Grant of Dominion

…of one group of Americans over another, courtesy of President Barack Obama, congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV), and their Obamacare.

Dr Ezekial Emanual, ex-health-care adviser to Obama and presently senior fellow at the Center for American Progress strongly recommended this grant in a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

In touting Obamacare’s health “insurance” exchanges, he recommended government add overt pressure on our young to buy health “insurance,” in addition to the existing Individual Mandate requirement, because their participation is a necessary subsidy for others’ purchase.

Emanual began his push for this strengthening of the grant of a claim on one person’s private property to another with this…error:

Government exchanges on a national scale have never been tried before.

This is clearly untrue.  Canada, which is moving away from its national health “care” travesty, and Great Britain, which still is maintaining its National Health Service disaster, have already done this creation of health “insurance” on a national scale.  We know the failure that is pending.

Emanual had this in support of his push for extending that grant of dominion:

Here is the specific problem: insurance companies worry that young people, especially young men, already think they are invincible, and they are bewildered about the health-care reform in general and exchanges in particular.  They may tune out, forego purchasing health insurance and opt to pay a penalty instead when their taxes come due.

The consequence would be a disproportionate number of older and sicker people purchasing insurance, which will raise insurance premiums and, in turn, discourage more people from enrolling.  This reluctance to enroll would damage a key aspect of reform.

There are a number of things wrong with this.  In the first place, young people aren’t invincible and generally don’t think they are—this is just a cynically dragged red herring.  Young people, though, generally are healthy enough that both health “insurance,” especially the expensive, overwrought versions being pedaled by government, and health welfare, which is what the government’s product really is, are bad bets.

Insurance companies—when they’re allowed to sell true insurance policies—make their money by correctly assessing the likelihood of payout and adjusting the premiums they charge in advance of the expected payout accordingly.  The likelihood of payout for a young person (the odds of his getting sick) is quite low over any reasonable time frame.  The healthy young are wise to take that risk on themselves.

Secondly, young people aren’t as bewildered as Emanual makes them out to be.  They understand the risks they’re assuming, and they’re quite clear on the wisdom of the assumption.  They just don’t have the same assessment that Emanual—who apparently Knows Better—does.

Third, the penalty of the Individual Mandate itself is nothing more than a sinister enforcing mechanism of government’s grant of dominion over one man to another.

Fourth, the consequence of not following Emanual’s “recommendation” is simply the consequence of government’s demand for health welfare rather than allowing free market, competitively sold health insurance.  That consequence has nothing to do with the choices the young might freely make.

Emanual added further defense:

[W]e need to make clear as a society that buying insurance is part of individual responsibility.  If you don’t have insurance and you need to go to the emergency room or unexpectedly get diagnosed with cancer, you are free-riding on others.  …  The social norm of individual responsibility must be equated with purchasing health insurance.

Stipulating, arguendo (and only for that), that this is an accurate characterization, this justifies being forced to let others free-ride on me how, exactly?

Moreover, when I get sick and I’m uninsured, I don’t go to the ER and freeload—I pay for my infirm out of my own resources.  Just as my wife and I did when we were uninsured and paid for her biopsy and bilateral mastectomy out of our own resources.

Additionally—and this is a critical point that Progressives in general either can’t understand or simply ignore—helping those less well off is a matter of individual responsibility, not a government one.  Paying into government-provided welfare is legitimate, but only when government involvement is the last resort, not the default one.

Buying insurance or not, though—real insurance, not the present health welfare—has nothing at all to do with individual responsibility or with welfare.  That’s purely a personal economic and risk assessment choice.  Demanding that this man buy insurance so as to hold down that man’s cost for insurance is just, again, a grant of dominion to that other over the one: it’s government’s grant to another man of a claim superior to the one’s on his own property.

That’s tyranny, at best.

Emanual gave his game away here:

The president connects with young people, too, so he needs to use that bond and get out there to convince them to sign up for health insurance to help this central part of his legacy.

How cynical.  They should spend money on a thing they don’t need because Obama says that’s cool.  And to preserve a political legacy for Emanual’s hero.

Nor another man nor government has dominion over us.  Especially, government has no dominion over us; government, contrary to Emanual’s apparent understanding, is our employee.

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