BY SAM FIELDS
Should the Federal government be able to force all Americans to buy health insurance or, alternatively, pay a significant penalty for opting out of the program?
If you want to take your chances on health care, should the government deny you that right? If you decide to go uninsured, should the rest of us have to pay for your emergency room care when your kid needs an appendectomy or you break your leg?
There is a simple, albeit a Draconian measure, that solves the debate about health care that has dominated Washington for over a year:
No reimbursement to providers — doctors, nurses, hospitals, clinics or pharmacies – for services provided to the uninsured.
At the same time providers would have absolute immunity when they refuse service to the uninsured.
If doctors feel some professional obligation to treat the uninsured, they are on their own. Such doctors would be liable for all medical costs.
The poor wouldn’t be singled out under my proposal. Every congressional insurance proposal has a sliding scale based on income.
Some low income people may have to make a choice between a $6 pack of cigarettes every day or buying health insurance. That is their choice.
There no reason for someone to opt out except out of principle or to save a buck by betting on their health. They should be allowed that right.
However, if they or their kids are diagnosed with a costly disease it’s too late. While you can still sign up for insurance, there would be exclusion for the preexisting conditions.
Don’t compare this to the current system that bans preexisting conditions. That ban prevents the insured from changing companies when they have lost or changed their job. That’s just wrong.
What I am talking about are the kinds folks who don’t want to buy hurricane insurance until a Category 3 is a day away. Fortunately they can’t get away with that scam.
Under my proposal will some die who otherwise would have been cured? Sure.
But it is the best way to protect free choice without enabling healthcare chiselers.