Universal Mandated Criminal Underclass
So here we are, about to get a new healthcare legislation and from what I understand within the legislation is a Universal Healthcare Mandate. From what I understand this means that every person MUST have health insurance or they can be criminally sited for something; people who may not have the money for healthcare are about to become a criminal class simply because they are poor. Wow. Welcome to America where if you do not have cash you are simply a criminal.
Let’s think this through.
So what happens if you cannot get health insurance? You have a pre-existing condition (call it a genetic issue not related to lifestyle) and no one will insure you for less than you earn. For whatever reason you fall through all the cracks for Medicare or Medicaid, so what happens to you? From what I understand you get fined. Really? You can’t afford health care so you can afford the fine? Really?
So what happens if this persists? More fines? Jail? Sure I can see jail time, something like a debtor’s prison but for people who can’t afford healthcare. But from what I understand it costs 40k a year to house each inmate. So we are going to jail people and spend 40k a year doing it? And while they are at it (sending people to prison) don’t they have to provide healthcare? $40k a year, wouldn’t it be cheaper to just give free health care and not convert impoverished people into criminals? Seriously, this is what you are asking for when you create a Universal Mandate for healthcare.
Now I know that there are areas of the US where people will commit a crime in say October and get prison time for 6 months to simply ride out the winter. Spring comes around, they get released and come the following October they do something else and get arrested again. Aren’t we setting up a similar situation where people may opt to commit a crime (they are criminal already) and go to jail or prison just for the healthcare? Is this such a far fetched thought? Is this happening already?
Take this one step further; someone who already knows they are now a criminal for no other reason than they cannot pay for health insurance figures if they are already damned, why not really do a job and find a healthcare company executive and do something that will really make a statement. After all when they are done they will be arrested and then put in jail where healthcare is provided. Crime does pay, well, at least for your health care.
But it may all be a moot case. I personally do not think it is constitutional to force people to pay for healthcare. Sure I know the arguments, states already force you to buy auto insurance if you drive a car, but the two situations are not equal, not even close to being similar. To drive in a state is a privilege, not a right. You can live without driving by walking, riding a bike or taking public transportation to where you need to be. You need not own a car and therefore you need not have insurance. However, if you follow the current thinking that forced healthcare coverage is like car insurance, than if you do not have it you do not have a right to live. Hmm, there is a flaw here.
From what I understand: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Do we remember this from history class boys and girls, it is the preamble of the Declaration of Independence as ratified by the second congressional congress on July 4th, 1776. You know, they one with all the fancy signatures. Look at that, LIFE is the very first unalienable right; but only if you have health insurance maybe.
From the above clear text reading I would say that being able to live should not be fettered in any way. By taxing or forcing a fee on one of your inalienable rights, you are thereby restricting the other two. So in my opinion unless you are going to amend the Declaration of Independence you will not be able to force a healthcare mandate. Auto Insurance and Healthcare Insurance are not the same.
On the other hand you are not divinely entitled to healthcare either. Healthcare is not a right but it may be a moral imperative. This moral imperative is why you are not turned away from a hospital if you are in distress. This does not mean that the hospital cannot charge you for saving your life and attempt to extract funds for said services.
We are in a classic conundrum here. We have the means to save many lives, we are morally obligated to do so when the opportunity is presented, and we cannot force payment for said services. The health insurance industry would say this is exactly why healthcare is so expensive. It is also a fact that the higher the healthcare cost are the more people will default on payment. We are in a spiral of rising healthcare costs. But of course this does not have to be the case.
One bag or normal saline given intravenously will cost you about $300. Why? Well the healthcare industry would sight that there is research into the formula of the saline solution, the bag must not fail, and other features and that they only get paid 5% of the time for that saline solution thus must charge a huge amount for it. So what is the actual cost for a formula that has been used for a century, and a delivery device that has been perfected for about 100 years? All tolled, maybe 30 cents. I think I could pay for that and not default on payment if I were to be charged $.30. I think I would even pay up to $5.00 or even more and not default. In fact if I were charged a normal cost for items in a hospital I may agree to pay for it all. But this saline bag is marked up over 900 times, which is outrageous. They charge $15.00 for a pair of Tylenol (individually wrapped) but I can get Tylenol for $9.00 for 100 making a pair cost $.18. Because I get it from a hospital I pay 83 times the retail cost. And I will not even go into the costs for surgery, but I can give you a ballpark: I had a ruptured Appendix and the surgery cost ran about $90,000 dollars, I am still paying for this. But what should it have cost. If you consider tools and other devices that could be reused, the cost of other items that were single use and what you should pay for them, the time for the doctors, the time for the operating room, then you come to a total of about $8,000. Personally I would be glad to pay that for saving my life. But the markup is now so great I do not know how I will successfully pay for this on my current living wages. What a shame, if the insurance companies and hospitals were not so greedy, they could get paid, and paid much more often. But this is too logical when compared to the possibility of making BILLIONS of dollars in profits by jacking up healthcare and insurance costs.
I guess I am a lucky person, I in fact do have healthcare but I do not know how I am going to pay for my current stent in the hospital. I have not received the bills yet, but they are on the way and I am dreading the time when they do arrive. Maybe soon I will be one of those who cannot afford healthcare. I just don’t know what I will do.