There’s a lot of talk about the government forcing people to buy health insurance. The main argument against that, as far as I can tell, is that the government shouldn’t force anybody to buy anything. Socialism, they call it. State governments are lining up (or banding together, whatever analogy works for you) to legally protest that this mandated purchase violates existing law.
Yet, U.S. governments at the federal and state level force people to buy stuff all the time. In Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts, state residents are forced to buy health insurance. If you want to drive a car (or truck or motorcycle), and most Americans do, the vast majority of state governments force you to buy vehicle insurance, and if you don’t you face a monetary penalty. Same thing goes for other activities: If you want to hunt, states force you to buy a hunting license. If you want to own a gun, you have to buy a gun license. If you want to travel outside of the United States, the federal government forces you to get a passport, and passports are not free. Are all of these manifestations of socialism? These laws endured Republican and Democrat administrations.
And now the government is forcing people to buy health insurance. They argue that mandating purchase of health insurance will lower the cost of health care overall. I hope they are right. I am neither an economist nor a health care system expert. I suspect that most Americans are neither economists nor healthc care system experts. We have to rely on experts who say this will work. Unfortunately, that’s how democracy in complicated societies function: representatives rely on experts and the everyday citizen must rely on both. We lived in an America without vehicle insurance, and somehow it was decided vehicle insurance is cheaper with mandated vehicle insurance. Perhaps the same will be said about health care insurance.