I noticed another evil fnord in the health insurance debate. "The State forces people to buy car insurance. Therefore, the State should force people to buy health insurance."
In a really free market, whoever owned the roads would demand that drivers have insurance. If there's an accident, you need to make sure that the injured party gets restitution.
In this context, State-mandated car insurance makes sense. However, car insurance businesses are licensed by the State. There's artificially restricted competition. The net effect of the "mandatory car insurance" law is corporate welfare for car insurance corporations. A group of people can't pool their risk and form an insurance association, unless they're compliant with the State bureaucracy.
Also, car insurance vendors are usually required to charge everyone living in an area the same rate. A car insurance vendor may not:
- Charge people based on "# miles driven". If I drive 10k miles/year and you drive 20k miles/year, you're probably twice as likely to get in an accident.
- Charge people based on their evaluated driving ability. Drivers are licensed by the State, and not by the insurance salesman. If I'm half as likely to get in an accident as you, based on my driving ability, then the insurance corporation may not charge me less.
The car insurance tax is partially avoidable. I don't have to own a car! Not owning a car is inconvenient, but I can use a taxi or rent a car or get a ride from a friend if I need one.
The health insurance tax would be absolutely unavoidable. Health insurance is mandatory. The IRS would be responsible for making sure everyone has health insurance, and taxing those who are lacking insurance.
There's a law that says "Emergency rooms must treat all patients, even if uninsured!"
If you're poor, you might make the rational economic decision to not purchase health insurance. When/if you get sick, you just go to the emergency room. By law, they are required to treat you. You can't pay your bill, but you just declare bankruptcy. You have no assets, so it costs nothing to declare bankruptcy.
The net effect of the "mandatory emergency room treatment" law is that everyone else pays the cost for uninsured people. Everyone else pay higher prices to offset this cost.
"Repeal the 'mandatory emergency room treatment' law" is not discussed. Instead, everyone will be required to purchase health insurance.
The entire problem is due to previous State restriction of the healthcare market. Forcing people to buy insurance is a type of tax. It's amusing to hear Obama using English language loopholes to say "Mandatory health insurance is not a tax." If you're required by law to purchase something, that's a tax.
A law saying "You must buy X!" is a huge windfall for executives at a corporation that sells X.