09.30.2009 0

Welcome to OPEC-Care

  • On: 10/02/2009 09:37:00
  • In: Health Care
  • By Keya Dash

    What if the government taxed people just because they were living and breathing? Taxation already touches almost all aspects of life, from paychecks to cable bills.

    We can be sure our congressional representatives are experts at creating new pretenses for taxation. But a tax whose impact cannot be mitigated and is imposed solely for the act of breathing would surely be derided as un-American.

    Yet, rest assured, this “living and breathing” tax is on the table right now. It’s called “Individual Mandate.” It is part and parcel of the Obama health care plan. As Obama lectured George Stephanopoulos in his recent Sunday talk show marathon, “You’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance.” And if you choose not to, government will force you to pay up anyway in through what may appropriately be called the Orwellian Prescribed Extortion Cartel (OPEC).

    OPEC Care is Orwellian because in order to force its will, the government will have access to some of the most intimate conversations one could possibly have–those protected by doctor-patient privilege. They also will have access to patients’ bank accounts as a result of the bill.

    So, unlike the way Social Security direct deposits currently function, in which money is only deposited, this provision is a two-way affair–money can be taken out of accounts as well. This is a dangerous negation both of privacy – and of solvency.

    The term “individual mandate” is also a lie. It sounds like the individual is empowered, but, rest assured, he’s certainly not the one doing any mandating. The government issues the mandates to the mandatee who is the individual. It’s actually a government mandate.

    Under this bill, the individual is mandated to procure insurance from a de facto government-protected cartel of insurance companies. This system forces people to buy and guarantees these companies have a market and customers. And if someone dares to oppose OPEC-Care, he is penalized with a steep exise tax, though Obama claims this is not a tax despite the word being used in the bill. Its not designed to insure people as much as its designed to “ensure” companies have customers. Obamacare’s “public option” was not market-based choice and nor is OPEC-Care’s “individual mandate”.

    Proponents claim that buying health care from OPEC-Care is somehow supposed to magically reduce the price of health care. But a cartel by definition does nothing to lower prices. Cartels control prices by dominating supply. Most people comparison shop when they buy most things, but no more with OPEC-Care should this “compromise” bill pass.

    Doctors also lose big because OPEC-Care is the only game in town. Right now, if an insurance company is slow to pay on claims, a doctor can choose not to deal with that insurance company in favor of others. Many car dealers are near bankruptcy from the Cash for Clunkers scam–now comes the government with another dysfunctional solution.

    OPEC-Care amounts to a compulsory tax for living and breathing. People can’t opt out until they’re dead, so how else could it be characterized? Rather than depriving people of choices by establishing a cartel, the government should expand the horizons. Allowing the thousands of insurance companies currently in business to compete across state lines is a great start. But that would promote freedom instead of restrict it. And that’s not the Obama OPEC-Care way.

    Government protecting companies from their clients by making it illegal not to buy from them is precisely the wrong direction. Only genuinely increasing market influences and competition will lower costs. Anything else is an insult to the 85% of Americans who are currently satisfied with their health care. And taxing the life and breath out of them adds lethal injury to that insult.

    Keya Dash is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer for Americans for Limited Government.

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