I have an idea! (And it is a good one.) I call it — without having done anything more than come up with the half-baked (but good) idea — the Healthcare Freeloader Control Act. Let me know what you think.
It works like this:
We give people the option to be free and not buy any health insurance if they choose not to. They can opt out of health insurance altogether just as they can now, but if they opt out, they opt out for life. Thereafter it is all pay-in-full in advance and cash only, unless they can find charity…to pay in full in advance and cash only.
Otherwise, if you’re a young inevitable and you get in a horrible car wreck and no one comes to haul off your broken body, society will put you out of your misery. If you are old and sick and broke, we’ll wheel you out onto a burning barge and set you adrift on the ocean. For everything else in between, we strongly recommend a course in first aid and WebMD.com. In short, unless you are there to pick up the trash, your shadow never crosses the threshold of a hospital or medical clinic. Ever.
Swell idea, right? What do you think?
In a way, conservatives touting the freedom excuse for gutting the Affordable Care Act are arguing to sustain the opposite of my Freeloader Control Act and that hardly seems fair. Republicans embrace the status quo which tolerates free riders, people who know they will get health care that they don’t make plans to cover. Then they complain about it. Pay attention to the repeal and replace rhetoric and this is clear. Republican Anti-ACA arguments really don’t address the poor, they rant against the non-poor being forced to buy insurance and pay taxes to bolster our struggling and sparse healthcare system, especially care that covers those who cannot care for themselves. They cite specific examples of people being forced to buy insurance for care they don’t want or won’t need. And when they remove penalties connected to mandates, they in essence protect free loaders in the process.
Allowing Republicans to indulge in their selfish logic of independence and freedom does not obligate the rest of us to pick them up when they fail, does it? If it does, why? If they want to stand apart from the community of civilized society, let them.
Of course I am not serious, but perhaps only because the idea isn’t a practical one and not because I give a damn about people who game the system in order to break it.