Sunday, January 24, 2010

Govrnment Reform - Health Reform Mandates - A Sleeper Issue

“I won’t pay it! And I’ll shoot the first person who tries to make me go to jail because I will not buy health insurance.”

Response of 55 year old customer in New Hampshire café when asked about idea of forced insurance coverage, “In New Hampshire, An Angry Tide Swells, “ New York Times, January 24, 2010

Every legislative act has a sleeper issue. With health reform, individual and employer mandates is that issue. The very term, “mandate” runs against the grain of individualism, a strong trait in American culture.

Mandates put our individual destinies in the hands of government, where many feel it does not belong. Attorney generals in multiple states are preparing law suits to challenge the constitutionality of these mandates.

But the issue of mandates runs deeper than possible violation of the constitution.

It involves the intrusiveness of government into individual lives. People don’t want to be told what to do with their money, or what’s good for them. People feel they are more qualified on how to spend their money than government. They would rather control their own destinies, rather than have government control their destinies.

In the words of New York Times reporter, Katherine Seelye, who interviewed neighboring New Hampshire residents over the meaning of the Massachusett election of Scott Brown,

“The anger that boiled over in Massachusetts last week is bubbling up here. It is rooted in a combination of factors, including fear over the proposed health care legislation, anxiety about the flailing economy, and distrust over an overreaching government.”

Small business persons feel employer mandates will be the final straw that may put them out of business. To them a health care payment for employees personally represents, “A car payment. Rent. Student loans.” They can’t afford it. It represents money they could better spend elsewhere, saving money for college, or for a rainy day for personal matters.

As one person, a Democrat, observed of Democrats in Massachusetts, “They already have universal coverage. So they were in jeopardy of paying twice to everyone else. I’m a middle class person, but something is going to happen. I can’t help but look around and be concerned about the people who need help. And more and more, it’s the middle class.”

What we're seeing is an uprising of the American middle class who perceive, rightly or wrongly, that government is acting in its own interests, not in theirs.

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