It’s been a little while since we checked in on how RomneyCare — one of the most important models for ObamaCare — is doing in Massachusetts. Fortunately, the Boston Herald has an update.
One of the key elements of both plans is the “individual mandate.” This means that every single person has to not only have health insurance, but prove it to the government.
Of course, whenever the government demands something, there is always the “or else” clause. You have to prove to the government that you have health insurance that meets their minimum standards — or face the penalty.
In this case, it’s a graduated process. “Can’t afford insurance on your own? Then sign here and you’re covered by our plan. Here’s that bill. What, you can’t afford that bill, either? Then here’s a fine for not having insurance.”
Here’s where the dynamics of the liberal coalition turns against itself. Some of these poor people who can’t afford either private insurance or the state’s plans can’t scrape up the two grand in fines.
Well, in Massachusetts, there’s no lack of “community organizers” and “poverty advocates” (many of whom pushed for this program), and they’re helping those poor people by suing the state to fight the fines.
This is how it works: the government insists that you have to health insurance. It’s for your own good, so you have to have it. It’ll save you money and, possibly, save your life.
But if you don’t want it or don’t find a plan that you can afford that meets their standards, well, that doesn’t matter. Then the argument shifts that it isn’t just for your benefit, it’s for ours — we don’t want to have to pay for you should you get sick or injured. That potential cost is too much risk, so you gotta pay for insurance.
In P. J. O’Rourke’s brilliant classic “Parliament Of Whores,” he described this effect: every single government mandate comes with an implicit threat: do this, or else. Obey the law, or be fined. Pay the fine, or go to jail. Try to get out of jail, and be shot. Or, more precisely, “Would you kill your grandmother to pave I-95?”
That’s the underlying, oft-unstated message behind RomneyCare and ObamaCare: sign up, or pay a fine. Pay the fine, or go to jail.
But it’s all for your own good. And if that isn’t enough, it’s for our good, too.
After all, you can trust us. We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you.