“If a young man wrecks his Porsche,” the foundation’s policy director, Stuart Butler, wrote in 1989, “we may commiserate but society feels no obligation to repair his car. But health care is different. If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street, Americans will care for him whether or not he has insurance,” even though “that means more prudent citizens end up paying the tab.”
The White House and the law’s supporters are armed with similar ammunition from Republicans, starting with PresidentGeorge H.W. Bush. During the debate over so-called Hillarycare in 1993-94, Bob Dole, the Senate Republican leader, and other party colleagues backed an individual mandate. Subsequently, so did another Senate Republican majority leader, Bill Frist, a physician, as well as ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney enacted a mandate in his state. “Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate,” Romney declared six years ago. “But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided. Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian.”
So let me see if I get this right.
First we pass EMTALA, which is blatantly unconstitutional as it forces medical providers (hospitals in particular) to treat people with no money. That is, it is a literal enactment of slavery.
That law comes with exemptions from other laws that would prevent anti-monopoly laws from being used against the health industry (specifically, the insurance industry.)
The result is a fusillade of assaults on you, all unlawful in virtually any other line of business. You cannot find out what a procedure will cost "in total" before it is performed in a hospital as they don't have to tell you. You are barred from exercising competition on price for drugs across a national boundary, even when produced by the same company. You cannot sue for discriminatory conduct when it comes to health costs even though it is blatantly "in your face" and would be unlawful in virtually any other commodity (Robinson-Patman.) The providers of health care collude (by setting the number of MRI centers and similar things) that they will open in a given area and use the power of government to prevent competitors; this too would be illegal in any other line of work (Sherman and Clayton Acts.)
After performing violence to the law and the Constitution for years, now when someone finds the common sense to say "oh wait, that's really illegal" we pillory them and call them names, citing as our evidence that what they're doing is perfectly ok their former acquiescence to what should have been treated as felonious.
You expect this argument to fly?
The foundational flaw is EMTALA itself and before that, Tricky-Dick Nixon's wage and price controls that were responded to with "employer-based" health insurance. Absent both of those violations of common sense along with exceptions to long-standing anti-trust law there wouldn't be a problem in the first place -- there would be no rampant cost escalation that we had to deal with.
Oh it would be true that if you had no insurance and no money, and had a heart attack, you would get only charity care that people provided out of the goodness of their hearts. You might die too, either in transport or due to the less-than-gold-plated care you received. But this is a choice -- an allocation of risk and reward that you, as a free person, are entitled to make on your own.
Why is it that after shoving a gun up my nose for the last 30 years we suddenly consider the chance of my brains being blown out when the trigger is depressed to be solely due to the act of the trigger finger in the guard and not due to the fact that the gun was shoved up my nose when EMTALA was passed in the first place -- a blatantly unconstitutional law that was, to a large degree, at the root of the entirety of this crapfest we now find ourselves mired in?
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