EDITORIAL: Health care reform package has major flaws

Published 6:53 am Monday, April 26, 2010

That 4 million Americans will pay financial penalties for failing to have health insurance highlights how little sense the recently enacted national health care reform package makes.

Beginning in 2014, Americans who don’t get health insurance through their employer or buy it on their own will be assessed a penalty of about $1,000 apiece. A Congressional Budget Office report last week made it clear that many of those who don’t buy the insurance will fall into one of two groups: Those who can’t really afford it and those who don’t really need it. It doesn’t make sense for the government to stick its fingers into either group’s lives by forcing them to have insurance.

Proponents of the law argue that getting healthy young people – those who often don’t buy insurance because statistically they are unlikely to need it – onto the health insurance rolls will help reduce costs for others. The logic is correct, but the idea – that it’s OK to force people to spend money on something they don’t want or need – is just plain wrong. It certainly makes a mockery of American freedom. It also makes little sense that a large group of middle class Americans who make enough not to technically be poor, but who don’t get company-sponsored insurance, are going to have to choose paying for insurance over other needs. Yes, insurance may be a wise investment; but is it wise for the government to be making that decision?

These special cases make it clear that any plan which is designed to fit everybody, and which is forced on everyone in the country, is most likely to be seriously flawed. It’s also likely to trample all over individual freedoms and rights.

Fortunately, these provisions do not take effect for several years, so there is hope that good sense will intervene in the form of further reform – before it is too late.