Okay, so I've been having a long discussion on the healthcare mandate on facebook. I made this statement "you're already compelled to pay for things you don't want, social security, medicare, car insurance." Which turned into people telling me that my analogy fails. I wasn't necessarily trying to make a perfect analogy but for the sake of argument. So read this exchange, and tell me - honestly, does my argument fail? And really, suggestions on how I should have this conversation in the future. I've obviously gone about it all wrong. :-)
So the argument was - you can hear it coming right - "well, I can choose not to have a car, and then I don't have to pay."
My response: To me the analogy is still sound. Yes , you can choose not to have a car and therefore not need insurance. You can choose not to have life as well. I'd rather you didn't make that choice of course. :-) People who don't have insurance end up costing the rest of us in higher premiums and higher medical costs because we absorb the cost of their care which they will at some point in their life definitely need. Even the healthiest person can have an accident. And amazingly healthy appearing people have even had heart attacks. It's like driving a car without insurance, as long as you don't have an accident, you aren't contributing to the increased costs of everyone else. It's the same with health insurance, as long as you don't require care you aren't contributing to the cost of health insurance. But as soon as you have that accident, stroke, heart attack, cancer, a virus that turns into pneumonia because it wasn't treated, now you're the same as that car driver without insurance. That's one point of the individual mandate. Of course, that's not why the insurance companies wanted it, they want it because having healthy individuals in the pool off sets the costs of insuring the sick and helps maintain their profits. Our insurance system desperately needs reform but the insurance companies don't want that. They want to stay between me and my doctor and decide what care/ meds I should have without knowing anything about my medical history. They want to drop me if I get to be too costly and leave me unable to afford the care I need. They want to deny me coverage because I'm not perfectly healthy so that they can keep their costs low. In the end, they care about profits, not my health.
Their response: "If I refuse healthcare, I add no cost to anyone, so the analogy fails."
My response: "No, The problem is that people don't refuse healthcare. That's a part of the problem. Our ER's are full of people who don't have insurance, that seek out care. It's easy to say you won't seek care, but until you are dying without insurance, you really don't know what you'll do. I know a number of people who didn't seek care at first because they didn't have insurance. They waited until it was life or death. I don't many people who would choose death rather than accept healthcare. Most people aren't wired that way."
Their response: "Yes.. the analogy fails. I have a choice to refuse healthcare or owning a car. If I don't own a car, I don't pay insurance. If I refuse healthcare, I still have to pay."
My response: "You still have to pay because you still have a life which could require access to healthcare. You don't pay if you choose not to have a life. So the analogy is valid. Everyone keeps saying, if I don't have a car I don't pay. Yeah, if you don't have a life you don't pay. If you don't have car insurance, don't have a wreck, you haven't added cost either, but if you get caught, you'll pay a penalty. If you have a life and don't need to access healthcare, you don't add to the cost, but if you haven't bought insurance, yes you'll pay a penalty. And in both cases, when an accident (or unexpected illness) occurs, without insurance you add cost to the system. Is that mandate preferable? no, but the insurance companies demanded it in order to have the other reforms that were desperately needed. "
Their response: "The analogy fails. I can have a life without healthcare"
My response: "Technically - but most people don't choose that option when death seems possible. You can have a car without having an accident too."
Alright, someone help me out here with my logic dilemma.