Phill Kline
Pelosi: Buy health insurance or go to jail?
By Phill Kline
November 7, 2009

Finally, straight forward proof of the dramatic loss of liberty accompanying Speaker Pelosi's health care "reform" bill. The debate has always truly been about liberty — who gets to decide what and when.

Speaker Pelosi's bill, H.R. 3962, requires all Americans to a purchase a minimum health care insurance plan. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this basic required plan will cost the average family $15,000 a year by 2016. Failure to purchase this insurance will result in a substantial fine.

Failure to pay the fine can constitute "felony willful evasion" which is punishable by a $250,000 fine and up to five years in prison. (H.R. 3962, §7201).[1]

Long ago, much of America's political establishment and much of America's business community abandoned principle when dealing with health care issues. This abandonment ushered formularies, treatment tables, Marx and bureaucrats into the examination room.

Currently, government spending comprises 46 cents of every health care dollar. Private insurance pays 42 cents of every dollar and the patient represents only 12 cents of the dollar. It is obvious who has the power in this equation.

Large insurance interests are willing to sell out liberty and support health care "reform" if they have the additional guaranteed premiums from the healthy and government is the only power that can create a market through the force of law.

The insurance companies have threatened to oppose any bill that does not create this new government generated and mandated market. The companies argued that they would go bankrupt under the Democratic plan due to the requirement to provide coverage to high cost patients with pre-existing conditions. The companies claimed these new mandated premiums are necessary for solvency. Pelosi needs the votes and cannot afford a full scale war with insurance.

And so Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have offered the uninsured an offer they cannot pass up: buy insurance or go to jail! Heck, why don't we outlaw poverty as well.

And so now you have it — the most tangible example of the dramatic freedom Americans are in danger of surrendering.

With this plan the insurance industry can count on a government created and mandated market generating additional revenue while the left can have a dramatic increase in government power.

This is the common pattern of the leftist incrementalism. First, highlight an issue and generate a perceived crisis. Next, claim a simple solution to the crisis and build on the media's default belief that all solutions, all resolutions and all answers are found in the beltway. If there is a problem, there must be a government answer. Third, motivate constituencies around the issue and buy them off with the sharing of government power and monies.

Those at the table often are willing to sell out when they consider some government action inevitable and do not arrive at the negotiation with any guiding principles. Government always has enough power and/or money to share.

As a result government expands and another part of the American economy becomes less dependent on markets and more dependent on government power. This converts a portion of the American electorate to supporting ever increasing government expenditures in order to protect their share of the government pie. This formula for power expansion is virtually unlimited when we are willing to borrow from tomorrow.

And in the future, when the bills cannot be paid, government can simply raise the fine on the working poor who choose not to have health care or, simply pull the plug on grandma.


[1]  "H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax."

"If the government determines that the taxpayer's unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply..."

"Criminal penalties

Prosecution is authorized under the Code for a variety of offenses. Depending on the level of the noncompliance, the following penalties could apply to an individual:

• Section 7203 — misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

• Section 7201 — felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years
." [page 3]

According to the Congressional Budget Office the lowest cost family non-group plan under the Speaker's bill would cost $15,000 in 2016.

© Phill Kline


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Phill Kline

Phill Kline is the former Attorney General of Kansas who is, to date, the only Attorney General / prosecutor ever to obtain abortion records and formally charge both George Tiller and Planned Parenthood... (more)

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