Health Insurance and Personal Responsibility

Blitzer talks about "society" letting someone die, but whom does he mean? Each individual is part of society, so isn't the real question, "What are YOU going to do about it?" Treating "society" as some super-entity above and beyond the individuals who compose it causes two problems. First, it gives individuals an excuse to do nothing by their own initiative; second, it encourages many to ignore the actual victims of politicians' forced wealth transfer schemes.

"Society" has no right to violate the rights of minorities or of individuals. Doctors, hospitals, and individuals who wish to help pay for others' care remain free to do so, but they should not be forced by federal politicians to do so.

The deeper problem, the real reason a healthy 30 year old grows tempted to forgo health insurance, is that politicians have made the costs of health care and insurance ludicrously expensive.

Through destructive tax policies, the federal government linked health insurance to employment and encouraged the use of "insurance" for routine, every-day costs rather than for true emergencies. As a consequence, consumers have almost no incentive to seek economical care, and a considerable portion of each health dollar goes to insurance paperwork rather than actual care.

Today's politicians have taken dramatic action to turn health insurance into a gigantic wealth transfer scheme. That, indeed, is the entire premise behind the ObamaCare "mandate"; people must be forced to buy insurance because its artificially high costs subsidize the care of others. Consider, for example, the recent mandate from Health and Human Services that forces the insured who don't need birth control to pay for the birth control of others.

If we dismantled the federal controls over health care and moved toward a free market, that would put patients back in control of their health care, help contain costs, make insurance affordable again, empower more people to manage their health care costs, and ease the burdens on voluntary charity.

To take one example, expanding untaxed health savings accounts would give people the incentive to save and pay for their own health care and insurance. People should be able to buy health insurance out of their HSAs and contribute to HSAs regardless of their insurance.

The health-policy debate deserves better than inflammatory rhetoric about letting people die. Free-market reforms make it easier for people to live and pursue a healthy and autonomous life. In moving toward that goal, all that needs to die are the misguided political controls on health care and insurance that have so thoroughly debilitated those fields.

Also read: "ObamaCare: Whether You Like Your Privacy or Not, You Don't Get to Keep It"