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A Flawed Metaphor

I missed Obama's speech last night (Wednesdays, my local gaming shop hosts a board gaming night, and I try not to miss it), but I caught some clips from it. And one thing that Obama said (it was hardly original) struck me as just plain wrong.

Obama likened health insurance to auto insurance, and said that, in essence, if we can require people to have auto insurance, why can't we require them to have health insurance?

The first flaw is pretty obvious. No auto insurance policy covers routine maintenance. State Farm will not cover your oil changes. GEICO's lizard won't subsidize your new tires. And Progressive won't send that perky redhead over to fix your brakes.

The second one, however, was a bit more obscure.

Not all Americans are required to have auto insurance.

New Hampshire (renowned for its decided lack of nanny-stating) does NOT require drivers to carry any auto insurance at all. If you don't, you better be ready to pick up any and all costs that are your responsibility in case you have a crash. And if you can't do that, they'll take away your license and registration until you settle up.

In a similar vein, New Hampshire has no mandatory seatbelt or motorcycle helmet laws for adults. The philosophy is, "you're grownups. You wanna be an idiot? Go right ahead."

Outside of New Hampshire, there are a lot of other people who don't have car insurance. They don't have to have it, because they don't own cars.

By current law, driving a vehicle on public roads is a privilege, not a right. And part of the cost of that privilege is obeying the laws. Every other state requires that you demonstrate financial responsibility by securing auto insurance. If you don't have that, you're not putting your car on the road. Content yourself with driving around on your own property.

So, there's a mechanism for opting out of auto insurance -- don't try to register a vehicle and operate it on the public roads.

So, how the hell does one "opt out" of mandatory health insurance? What is the equivalent of hanging up the car keys and contenting oneself with public transportation? (Renouncing one's citizenship doesn't seem to work -- it's pretty clear that illegal aliens will be covered by the Obama plan.)

Oh, well. I'm sure President Obama, being a former Constitutional scholar, can explain to us plebes just where in the Constitution the federal government has the authority to demand we all subscribe to health insurance, get out of the country, or just die.


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Comments (21)

I agree that it was a very ... (Below threshold)
Still An Unrepentant Democrat:

I agree that it was a very flawed metaphor.

I depart from Obama on this issue. It's just flat out wrong.

I want the auto insurance t... (Below threshold)

I want the auto insurance that covers pre-existing accidents. That way I don't have to buy insurance until I get in an accident and need it.

Another difference: no one ... (Below threshold)

Another difference: no one is required to buy comprehensive auto insurance coverage that pays for damage you do to your own car, the requirement is only for liability coverage to protect other drivers against your negligence.

As President Obama well kno... (Below threshold)

As President Obama well knows, auto insurance is required in Illinois yet many drivers do not carry it. There is no requirement to prove insurance while either registering a vehicle or obtaining a license. If the President had looked at the insurance bill for his old Chrysler 300 he would have noticed a charge for "uninsured motorist" which covers us when we are in an accident with one of the many people driving around here without insurance.

Bottom line, yes we are required to carry insurance but we are also required to pay for the people who don't obey the law. You really didn't need to attend Harvard Law to figure this out.

Please flag comment #1 so n... (Below threshold)

Please flag comment #1 so no one else loses their breakfast (or lunch or dinner) all over the keyboard when they read the sig!

I consider it a measure of ... (Below threshold)

I consider it a measure of his arrogance that he believes he can sell that to the American public; or even a smidgen of the public.

Virginia,like New Hampshire, does not require liability insurance. But, to register a vehicle for the privilege of driving on public roads you must alternatively pay an uninsured motorist fee of $500. You are also on your own if the trial lawyers come after you.

Virginia does not require persons who do not own cars to buy auto insurance of any type. I would not live in a state that did.

I didn't watch the speech b... (Below threshold)

I didn't watch the speech because I had a choice between that or having my gums scraped. I chose the gums. ;)

That example with the auto insurance was not right but he knew it. Also, the lie abuot illegal aliens. ww

Yeah, that fool can't even ... (Below threshold)

Yeah, that fool can't even get his metaphors right. Health insurance is not at all like auto insurance. He is trying to trick the American people into fasism, communism, and socialism. From here on out to be called famunialism.

I hate him, I hate him, I hate him.

Alright, Jay. What's your m... (Below threshold)

Alright, Jay. What's your moniker on Boardgamegeek.com?

On the other hand, mandatory auto insurance forces you to buy coverage for folks you hit. It's not for you, it's to pay damages to the folks whose car you have totaled.

Did I miss something last n... (Below threshold)

Did I miss something last night? I thought The One was going to present "His Plan".

Looked outside this morning for all those people who are evidently 'dying in the streets' because they lack health care.

On a bright note, I notice Barry's numbers are coming down. Reform will only cost $900 BILLION, and by some miracle, there are only 30 MILLION uninsured now. Just think, we got 17 MILLION covered in the last month just by talking. Another two months and everyone should be covered.

One big difference between ... (Below threshold)

One big difference between obama's plan and auto insurance is you can choose to not own a car.

Just to add what some other... (Below threshold)
John Hansen:

Just to add what some others have said. The main reason that you are required to buy auto insurance is for liability. Driving a car is not just dangerous to yourself or the well being of the car. Driving is dangerous to others. If you are going to be allowed to drive a car, you better be able to financially recoup those you hit or pay for property you destroy.

No one buys health insurance to cover the chance they might injure someone or destroy some property when they get sick!!!

This is the type of stupid analogy which should have been edited out by thinking people, but was left in the speech because thinking people was not the target audience of Obama's speech.

Of course auto insurance is... (Below threshold)

Of course auto insurance is just like health insurance. The President said it is and everything he says is true and righteous. Don't you people pay attention?

Now "stop bickering" and "talking", repeat, "Yes, We Can!" a thousand times like a good little Obamunist.

You missed the biggest diff... (Below threshold)

You missed the biggest difference of all - where auto insurance is required, states are the entities requiring it, not the federal government. The federal government has no say, nor should it, in that type of decision.

"Please flag comment #1 ... (Below threshold)

"Please flag comment #1 so no one else loses their breakfast (or lunch or dinner) all over the keyboard when they read the sig!"

Unfortunately, for me, it was too late. I rolled my eyes so hard they now hurt.

And I think Garandfan shoul... (Below threshold)

And I think Garandfan should win the kewpie doll for this thread.

"One big difference between... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

"One big difference between obama's plan and auto insurance is you can choose to not own a car."

Maybe that is why so many liberals like Obamacare -- they figure they won't have to pay anything because they don't have a life anyway.

JT,At least your pri... (Below threshold)
Codekeyguy Author Profile Page:

At least your priorities are correct. Wargaming always better than listening to Chairman Zero. I painted an army, myself.

So what legal and viable ... (Below threshold)

So what legal and viable plan can US have to undo the bailouts, so called 'stimulus plans', and the horrific 'health plan' they will force thru without having to wait until the next elections... ?can we revoke these since they are not adhering to the constitution

No one buys health insuranc... (Below threshold)

No one buys health insurance to cover the chance they might injure someone or destroy some property when they get sick!!!

I think Peter F. hit it.. j... (Below threshold)

I think Peter F. hit it.. just repeat "Yes we can!" over and over and you will sound a bit like the the little engine that could crossed with Obama the Builder.






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