Opinion: Fines for not having health care?

I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t been paying close attention to the health care debate – for the simple fact that it is so fluid at this point that the time I would invest in learning every single detail is better spent on other pursuits.

But, one argument has caught my attention.

The argument is over whether or not a “fine” for not having health care, under the proposed Democrat’s bill, would be a “fine” or “tax”.  It’s said it’s a tax because of who will collect it – the IRS.  Now I don’t know how penalties will be handled for those who don’t pay the “tax”, but if it ends up as stringent as those assessed for other things the IRS collects, you could be talking some real bucks.

However, that’s not what disturbs me.  What disturbs me is the fact that there is no distinction made between those who are financially able to secure health care and do not, versus those who are able to secure it and choose not to.  That’s a difference that I think is behind this type of proposal.

The argument being made about this sort of penalty – and let’s be honest here – it’s a penalty or fine regardless of who collects it – is that it’s like automobile insurance.  Problem is, I choose whether or not I have a car and part of that choice is, “Can I afford insurance and upkeep and payments?”  To me, a car is a luxury – not a necessity.  (Those of you who know me will appreciate that last statement.)

Will those who truly need health care not seek it because of fear of a “fine” or “tax”?  Wouldn’t that have the potential for doing that which the health care reformers wish to avert?

And what about those in our Country who simply cannot afford it and are barely keeping their heads above water financially?  A “fine” or “tax” could be devastating – creating a vicious circle of poverty from which escape would ultimately prove next to impossible.

For all the talk about health care being a “right”, it flies in the face of that to even think about mandating such a fine.


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