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Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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The Individual Mandate

By on March 9, 2017 in See It Here

Chances are good you don’t know this by name in the Affordable Care Act which is about to be repealed by the Republican party because they don’t like government telling us how to live our life and we can make our own decisions.

The Affordable Care Act, also called “Obamacare” along with a lot of adjectives like “disaster” or “imploding” or “unconstitutional” contains the idea that all of us (millennials, middle age, senior citizens) must have health insurance. This makes common (and economic) sense because young people probably won’t use health insurance as much as people older than them so for a while they’ll be contributing to something they won’t use, if at all. That’s the individual mandate.

And yes, it’s Big Government telling you what to do. 

So, in GOP World, you buy health insurance only if you want to because it’s your call. If you don’t want health insurance, good for you…and good luck.

Now, let’s take this one step farther than any Republican has done:

You choose not to buy health insurance. You get in a car wreck or you develop a life-threatening disease or you get the flu that doesn’t go away for weeks. You need a doctor or the emergency room.

As of now, emergency rooms will treat you because they have to. It’s one of those damn Big Government laws called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act passed in 1986. Emergency rooms receive zero federal money for this.

If we go with the removal of the individual mandate, as has just been approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, then everyone makes their own decision. This also means all of us will pay not only for our emergency room visit (with help from our health insurance) but the cost of treating those without coverage.

Note to Paul Ryan-Mitch McConnell and the Tea Party People:

How about if you choose no health insurance, you sign an affidavit saying you will pay all the emergency room costs associated with your problem instead of the rest of us covering it.Or you just die along the highway or at the ER entrance (maybe your estate can cover the ambulance cost)?

This idea shows the beauty of being responsible for yourself. And I bet the members of Congress listed above won’t accept it.

Talk is cheap but the costs of this are expensive.

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