« I imagine there'll be many more of these in the coming days | Main | Good Enough For You, But Not For Us »

Remember, This Is For Your Own Good...

It's been a little while since we checked in on how RomneyCare -- one of the most important models for ObamaCare -- is doing in Massachusetts. Fortunately, the Boston Herald has an update.

One of the key elements of both plans is the "individual mandate." This means that every single person has to not only have health insurance, but prove it to the government.

Of course, whenever the government demands something, there is always the "or else" clause. You have to prove to the government that you have health insurance that meets their minimum standards -- or face the penalty.

In this case, it's a graduated process. "Can't afford insurance on your own? Then sign here and you're covered by our plan. Here's that bill. What, you can't afford that bill, either? Then here's a fine for not having insurance."

Here's where the dynamics of the liberal coalition turns against itself. Some of these poor people who can't afford either private insurance or the state's plans can't scrape up the two grand in fines.

Well, in Massachusetts, there's no lack of "community organizers" and "poverty advocates" (many of whom pushed for this program), and they're helping those poor people by suing the state to fight the fines.

This is how it works: the government insists that you have to health insurance. It's for your own good, so you have to have it. It'll save you money and, possibly, save your life.

But if you don't want it or don't find a plan that you can afford that meets their standards, well, that doesn't matter. Then the argument shifts that it isn't just for your benefit, it's for ours -- we don't want to have to pay for you should you get sick or injured. That potential cost is too much risk, so you gotta pay for insurance.

In P. J. O'Rourke's brilliant classic "Parliament Of Whores," he described this effect: every single government mandate comes with an implicit threat: do this, or else. Obey the law, or be fined. Pay the fine, or go to jail. Try to get out of jail, and be shot. Or, more precisely, "Would you kill your grandmother to pave I-95?"

That's the underlying, oft-unstated message behind RomneyCare and ObamaCare: sign up, or pay a fine. Pay the fine, or go to jail.

But it's all for your own good. And if that isn't enough, it's for our good, too.

After all, you can trust us. We're from the government, and we're here to help you.

Or else.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (33)

"Would you kill your grandm... (Below threshold)

"Would you kill your grandmother to pave I-95?"... That chapter is the best tutorial on the federal budgeting process ever written, period.

At the point of a gun...</p... (Below threshold)

At the point of a gun...

The flip side is that the s... (Below threshold)
jim m:

The flip side is that the system is easily gamed.

Take for example my coworker, who, having gotten his live in girlfriend pregnant, decided that they would not get married so he could put her on his insurance plan. No, it was far more financially advantageous to keep her on Romneycare. So the tax payers paid for her pregnancy and delivery because to put her on his insurance plan was just too much of a hardship for a man making $70,000 to $90,000 per year.

The dems sure do a swell job of helping out the poor don't they?

You forgot to add the corol... (Below threshold)

You forgot to add the corollary to the community organizer involvement; getting the gov't (us) to pay for the insurance for those who "can't afford it", even though one of the justifications for the program was so that the rest of use wouldn't have to pay for the health care of those people.

The 'for our good, too' thus becomes, 'at our expense'. Welfare by another name.

"...getting the gov't (u... (Below threshold)

"...getting the gov't (us) to pay for the insurance for those who "can't afford it", even though one of the justifications for the program was so that the rest of use wouldn't have to pay for the health care of those people."

Bingo. I made that very argument the other day, "So the way to keep the taxpayer from having to pay for the health care of those who can't afford insurance is to have the tax payer pay for the healthcare of those who can't afford insurance."

Brilliant! Why didn't we think of it sooner?

Wayne,I think the ... (Below threshold)
jim m:


I think the words you are searching for are "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"

That's the obama way.

From the article: "The Comm... (Below threshold)

From the article: "The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority is cracking down on more than 3,000 residents who are fighting state fines."

Meanwhile, the same paper reported on Oct 27th that "69 percent of the state's MassHealth Limited subscribers are illegal immigrants."

Ma. supposedly has about 220,000 illegal aliens in the state.

Once again, it sucks to be legal and poor.

RomneyCare also appears to ... (Below threshold)

RomneyCare also appears to have problems with cost containment, and (GASP!) this has led to rationing.

Say it ain't so!

Tennessee is also having problems with TennCare.

And Hawaii's program is also going sneakers up.

Could this be a trend?

This is the nail in the cof... (Below threshold)

This is the nail in the coffin of Romney's Presidential aspirations.

I will NOT vote for the man, not because he is a Mormon, but because he foisted this upon the idiots of Taxachussets.

I kind of share TexBob's se... (Below threshold)

I kind of share TexBob's sentiments. When people say we need a president who understands the way the private sector/small business works one of the names that always seems to come up frequently on the Republican side is Romney. Sorry, but if he has that much insight I find it hard to believe he if he is really that much of a "business" man he cannot perceive that his healthcare model for Massachusetts is not sustainable long term. On the other hand I guess there is some weird merit in having a state on both the east and west coast which so willingly act as laboratories for every social experiment the progressives want to implement. But one would think by now they would catch on to what a lot of people elsewhere have already observed -that not one of those "experiments" has really ever worked long term.

Worthy of opting out of the... (Below threshold)

Worthy of opting out of the scam. Just like S.S.

"The Commonwealth Health... (Below threshold)

"The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority is cracking down on more than 3,000 residents who are fighting state fines, and has even hired a private law firm to force the health insurance scofflaws to pay penalties of up to $2,000 a year"

Sounds like the tax collector in Robinhood. What are these self annointed lords going to do to crack down? We have now found a valid use for "death panels" and these scum bags are it.

How can anyone who lives there tolerate this shit?

I am hesitant to comment be... (Below threshold)

I am hesitant to comment because it opens me up for what not, but I decided why not. I am one of those uninsured Americans. Since my husband had an accident five years ago, we have been able to survive but on a different budget than before. We moved to a less expensive state than we lived in before and adopted a farm life style in the middle of the desert. We meet our needs through the animals we raise and the foods grown here, because it takes the dent out of groceries. My husband has a desk job now, and it pays ok, but not enough for us to have medical insurance. Either we have medical insurance or pay our bills. Now we used to, until this January, have a doctor in town that took payments for the visit, which made going to a doctor feasible. Now he wont because his office said the laws have changed.

I never once asked for help nor have we taken any. When our oldest broke his wrist we paid payments to the ER. Same when our second son dislocated his shoulder. I resent this notion that the uninsured are begging for nanny state to protect us from the big bad wolves. Crises make one stronger, as with my husbands accident. We used to be one of the insured living a very comfy middle class lifestyle. Since the accident we had to dig down and see what we were made of, and to be honest, we realized that we are made of strength. We are willing to work harder with less and be content. Paying our own way is who we are. We have an accountability NOT the state.

Seems like the government needs to have a poster child, and the po' uninsured Americans are it. Well no thanks. Some of us po' folk realize that Obama money is really the money of the hard working American spirit, and have some respect.


During the 2008 campaign, I... (Below threshold)

During the 2008 campaign, I remember seeing a twenty-something activist woman on TV blasting the VA health care system for its poor treatment of our Veterans...and then in the same breath (and without skipping a beat), she then advocated for socialized health care (Hillary-care).

Great Moogly-Googly! The disconnect of what she was saying was astounding...and I thought to my self, "Young lady, you should be careful what you wish for."

Having been a recipient of government run health services for my entire life, first under my father in the Army Air Corps and then as an adult for 30 years in the Marines, I can tell you first hand that it comes with some strings that are pretty hard to accept. BTW I have a 90% disability rating from the DAV, and so I know from experience what military retiree medial care is like too.

With this new American heath care law (AKA Obama-care), the rest of the country is waking up to the reality that I have had to deal with all my life. And from what I can discern, America doesn't like it.

Semper Fidelis -

Thank you Jennifer.... (Below threshold)

Thank you Jennifer.

"Having been a recipient of... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"Having been a recipient of government run health services for my entire life, first under my father in the Army Air Corps and then as an adult for 30 years in the Marines, I can tell you first hand that it comes with some strings that are pretty hard to accept."

And keep in mind, that 'govt run healthcare' was always backed up by 'regular' healthcare. If you didn't like the VA, you could always go to a private insurer or pay for a private doctor yourself (yeah, I know it was expensive and not everyone could do that, but stay with me here a minute.)
Just wait until we ALL have to go on Obamacare and private healthcare is killed off. When we all have socialized medicine we'll see how shitty it really can be.

No surprise, Romneycare is ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

No surprise, Romneycare is financially imploding and will be a precursor for Obamacare. Many of the real or faux progressives, like Illinois state senator Barack Obama, intimidated this is what will happen if you don't have a genuine single payer plan, but end up with a half-ass private- public subisdy plan.

The health insurance industry, with their hefty executive salaries still looks pretty viable in 2010 after all their wailing and gnashing of teeth, -no surprise, while the taxpayer will increasingly pick up much of the costs of health care, and as jim m indicated so many will continue to game the system.

"I will NOT vote for the ma... (Below threshold)
A non galoob visitor:

"I will NOT vote for the man, not because he is a Mormon, but because he foisted this upon the idiots of Taxachussets."

I would'nt vote for him either way. Sick of the pretty boy polished empty suit routine. If they are willing to go against standard operating procedure they are likely legit, if not, screw em'.

When I was on active duty, ... (Below threshold)

When I was on active duty, I thought I could do anything - physically (all it takes is more will power). After 29 years of service I become disabled. I went to my command facing the reality that I was broken and couldn't perform at the expectations required.

It was not my decision to make...it was the Corps. They could have medically retired me or retained me on active duty until my contract was fulfilled (retirement at 30 years). My Colonel choose retention.

Knowing how the VA worked (from WWII Vets in the Marine Corps League), I spent an entire two weeks of my life in 2007, doing nothing but transcribing, compiling, and collating my military medical record into a form acceptable to the Department of Veteran's Affairs (DVA).

Two weeks! Which resulted in a 90% disability finding. But I had to do a mountain of paper-work to reach that point (oh, my).

To give you an idea...the VA says, the loss of one hand or one foot, or loss or loss use of a creative organ qualifies for a disability of 10%. Now 10% is not 10% of your final pay...10% is an amount the VA says it is...last time I looked that was about $117.00 per month. I don't know of a single combat Veteran who would rater have the compensation in lieu of there appendages or balls back.

The ultimate point here is...what happens to those who are not orderly and diligent in their administrative tasks? Perhaps they are not agile in filling out reams of government forms? Perhaps they are suffering their loss, and find the task impossible?

Thus I find the system to be more than a little unfair, when the presumption should be in their flavor - but the deck is stacked against them. And that reality is a little disconcerting to me.

Semper Fidelis-

While RomneyCare may have b... (Below threshold)

While RomneyCare may have been designed by people with little sense and stars in their eyes, ObamaCare is designed to fail. Already 111 companies/unions have obtained waivers from it's requirements. Shortly Congress will vote on whether to extend Medicare cuts. Pelosi said 'we mean it this time'. We'll see. Because if they don't enforce the cuts, Nancy and Company will have made LIARS of themselves and put even more crippling costs on their vaunted "Health Care Reform". The next nail in the coffin will be when the Supreme Court throws out the mandatory purchase under threat of fine requirement.

Of course the Libs will immediately push for 'single payer', which is what they wanted in the first place, but did not have the guts to produce.

I understand the funds of t... (Below threshold)

I understand the funds of the American taxpayer are not unlimited. Thus, government health services are rationed. Upon retirement what I found surprising is that the VA was so...adversarial.

They sent me to a half-dozen specialist for an independent evaluation...I had to first show ID's and answer questions to satisfy them that I was who I said I was. Then there was no feed-back about my condition from the doctors what-so-ever. No advice, consultations, or follow-ups...it was zero, zip, nadda. I guess I was expecting too much. The verdict came back 6 months later with findings...via snail mail. And an attached letter explaining the appeal process for those conditions that (at least to me) seemed arbitrary. For example, they said the loss of my dominate hand was the opposite of reality (right vs left) and thus not worthy of as much compensation. Bottom line was a 140% disability, which when compared to their combined in-house compensation rate chart...synthesized out to a 90% assigned disability rating.

Appeal? Were they for real? They must be joking. Everyone has their limits; I had reached mine...I'm a human being, not some inanimate document or object to justify their bureaucratic existence. Now don't get me wrong...I do appreciate and am grateful for the assistance of family, friends, and country. But the truth is there is life after the VA...and the bottom line concerning one's health and existence is really about quality of life.

So... if the country goes to 100% unified government health-care. Everyone will get the chance to partake in this bureaucratic adventure...together... and get the full treatment of the experience. Putting the government in charge of quality of life, is a smash-up of unbelievable scope. Its like your worst nightmare becoming a realization. I still find it hard to believe our Congress and President went down this rationing road for our nation.

Semper Fidelis-

On the bright side, Barry's... (Below threshold)

On the bright side, Barry's "Auntie" is getting subsidized housing. And probably "free" (taxpayer funded) health care. That's fair!

Maybe Taxachusetts should bring back 'debtor's prison'. That will teach those ingrates.

Bruce, you fail to understa... (Below threshold)

Bruce, you fail to understand one fundamental difference with your case and the typical ObamaCare sob story. In your case, you EARNED your care (thank you, sir). You paid for it with your literal dearest blood. You entered into a contract with us, and held up your end with honor.

Care for you is an obligation upon us, the fulfillment of a promise. And we all know what Obama thinks of promises.

The poor, though, entered into no such deal. ObamaCare is intended as a gift for them, but a gift with strings -- the implicit demand for political support. That is an "investment" in the Democrats' political future. It will pay real returns, in the form of votes and other support.

So, in that perspective, Bruce, it's no surprise that you got shafted, and they don't.


No surprise, Romne... (Below threshold)
No surprise, Romneycare is financially imploding and will be a precursor for Obamacare. Many of the real or faux progressives, like Illinois state senator Barack Obama, intimidated this is what will happen if you don't have a genuine single payer plan, but end up with a half-ass private- public subisdy plan.

Of course, this has been the constant wail of the progressives for decades. When we point out how all of your airy-fairy theories for universal peace, plenty, and brotherhood result in real-world misery and economic failure, the response is always "but it wasn't DONE right. We need MORE CONTROL. If only we can control ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, it'll work. Trust us."

Mr. Tea,It was not... (Below threshold)

Mr. Tea,

It was not my intent to appear to complain. I'm not a whiner. I have no regrets. I'm alive and I'm getting on with my life. But I'll take the compliment part.

My intent was to shine a little light on our shared responsibilities. The Corps (and all our other branches of service) belong to the American people. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to learn as much as we can about who they are (fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, and cousins -they are our family) and what they do (they answer our country's call in times of her need).

We are at war, in places like Afghanistan... and if I was Commander-In-Chief, my first act would be to ask Congress to declare war upon our sworn enemies...and if they didn't have the backbone to do so, I'd pull all our troops out...like that afternoon. Endless war without the full weight and strength of a nation leading to is victory...is nuts. The whole damn place isn't worth the life of one of our soldiers.

The aftermath of war will last for a lifetime...as for our government's run VA medical care, its the year 2010...and come the year 2040 (thirty years from now), if history is any guide, the VA will still be pulling shrapnel out of service men and women because they didn't get it all years before.

So yes, I agree, we will owe it to these service members to assist them for the next several decades... they earned it... and its our obligation to them.

But then again, could we do a better job of it (fulfilling our obligations)...making war and taking care of the aftermath? Most certainly.

Along with this, I'm gob-smacked that certain folks in our society want to extend government quality of life responsibilities to the rest of our citizenry. Thus, I don't consider myself getting the shaft, Jay. I only talked about my experiences, so that maybe folks would pause, and think for themselves (openly and critically) that this road is not the road that a nation of free people want to travel down. With my words, which I admit I could have chosen better, this is what I meant to convey.

Semper Fidelis -

Mr. Pall, I apologize. My c... (Below threshold)

Mr. Pall, I apologize. My comment was intended to be sarcastic, to highlight the differences between how I view health care for veterans and for the rest of us. I was trying to portray how Obama and his ilk put a much higher priority on those who have not paid the price you have for this nation.

Apparently I didn't lay it on thick enough, and for that I apologize. I in no way intended to offer you offense, and deeply regret that I apparently did.


No offense taken Mr. Tea. ... (Below threshold)

No offense taken Mr. Tea. I do have a sense of life, humility, and humor, just like you. Your lead after all was, "Remember, this is for your own good..." And as long as we're honest - I respect everyone for calling things as they see em - we could all do a better job of listening and coming up with a more effective way of communicating. I do like your sense of snark and blogging.

Semper Fidelis-

Obviously there are flaws i... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Obviously there are flaws in any government-run plan - health care, mail delivery, etc. The reason is that the people in government service may be sincerely dedicated to the idea of serving the public, but they lack the basic qualifications required to successfully DO anything. The government can't even destroy things efficiently - the military does a great job blowing stuff to pieces, but the cost is very high.

In the case of mASS-cARE or whatever they call it, it was pretty much doomed from the moment the state had the authority to rule on the rate increases for private policies. They've turned them all down so far, I think, over what? Three years now?

The companies HAVE to take everyone who applies, cannot charge them higher rates if they are in bad health, are mandated what they must cover - but have to do it at what amounts to pre-freebie rates?

As far as blaming Romney, though, it's like blaming Nixon for the EPA. Sure, he did it, and bragged about it - but the alternative was a cabinet-level department with draconian powers, desired by the Democratic Congress. Nixon preempted them with something less.

Massachusetts was going to have state-run health care, Romney or no Romney. He did his best to design a system that respected the marketplace as much as would be tolerated in the People's Republic of Massachusetts, and which he thought would work.

A man's got to know his limitations, as Dirty Harry observed. Romney may have learned something, or perhaps not. But the people who are jumping to say they will never vote for him because of this law would never have voted for him anyway.

No, it was far more fina... (Below threshold)

No, it was far more financially advantageous to keep her on Romneycare.... The dems sure do a swell job of helping out the poor don't they?

Ah, Romney, that notorious Democrat.

Brucepall, I went through t... (Below threshold)

Brucepall, I went through the same gauntlet in 2005. It took two years to process. It sucks. But the American Legion has folks who help many vets through the process. You don't have to do it on your own.

But a few points.

When you are seeing a doc for a disability exam, they are PROHIBITED by the payor to treat or counsel you - they are being paid to evaluate your disability and are sanctioned from doing anything else.

The military and uniformed services medical systems and VA medical systems electronic medical records don't talk to each other, which is why you have to put together your records yourself on paper. Somewhere, a few sane folks are diligently working to get the VA and the military electronic medical records to talk to each other so that indignity is no longer necessary. GIve 'em about 20 years and they may be able to figure it out.

The VA system is infected with cronyism and government-employee mindset. While not everyone who works there carries the infection, there is enough of it to winnow out many competent and caring providers at the expense of career-oriented providers. Its a different genus of the same species of infection in the active duty medical services - but basically many folks (especially those that migrate up the chain of command) are much more worried about their career and retirement than the system, and will make critical choices to protect themselves rather than make the system healthy.

Good points all epador, ..... (Below threshold)

Good points all epador, ...truth is, I don't need the VA, a paternalistic Govment, or any other do-gooder (displaying pity) taking charge of my life... I'm very capable of doing that for myself....thank you very much (sarcasm off).

Most everyone here on this thread gets that...and have found a way to express, in their own colorful way, what Mr. Tea says with this forum...which is our country seems hell bent on going down this road anyway.

Perhaps wit and humor is needed more than moral authority to counter this sad state of affairs.

My family and I did laugh ourselves silly when, after I retired, the powers that be sent me a form letter asking that I not become depressed and commit suicide. Its the same ridiculous mindset that shipped the troops cases of condoms on the eve of invasion day in the gulf... what do they think we were going to do? Love the enemy to death?

Its snarking hilarious that some folks willfully desire, and wantonly seek, a government that will solve all their problems...and take care of them. The eager recipients are surely going to be seriously unhappy with the outcome. And its too funny to contain, when some of our fellow citizens are that gullible.

Semper Fidelis-

Bruce, I'm gonna turn off t... (Below threshold)

Bruce, I'm gonna turn off the snark for a brief moment (don't worry, it'll be back!) to say this to you:

Sir, you are almost morally obligated to seek out and utilize the veteran's benefits to which you are entitled. They are not something you are given; they are something you earned. They are part and parcel of the agreement we -- the American people -- entered into when you signed up for your service. In a sense, it's "payment for services rendered." In another, it's a sacred debt that we owe you. By refusing it, you are denying us our chance to uphold our end of that bargain. You held up yours honorably; it is incumbent on us to do the same.

No, it's not a very fair deal. We definitely got the better end of things. Please don't make it any more imbalanced.


Mr. Tea, Ho... (Below threshold)

Mr. Tea,

House keeping feed-back: Pall is my middle name - didn't have any say on how that came about, or how it is spelled.

Ended up here on this thread really into my personal junk more than intended. Don't worry about that though, my hide is a mile thick.

I hear what your saying, Jay. Thanks. I'll ponder it for awhile.

Semper Fidelis-






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy