Health insurance and health care are not the same thing

Health insurance and health care are not the same thing

The debate is on.

With Rep. Paul Ryan’s release of the House’s Republican American Health Care Act, the debate is on. Republican leadership’s plan in to repeal Obamacare in three phases—despite seven years of campaigning on a promise to repeal the bill lock, stock and barrel—is running into opposition from all sides. Deservedly so.

All the bloviating misses the essential point: the federal government has no business providing health insurance coverage to Americans and certainly no right to force all Americans to buy whatever policy the government deems they ought to have.

"The biggest problem with the AHCA is it leaves in place the concept that it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide health insurance for Americans..." Derek Hunter

If you understand that, you understand the Tea Party uprising. You stand a good chance of understanding the Constitution. Once Republicans have conceded the Democrats’ underlying belief that the government ought to provide health care for everyone (and not even to just citizens) then the rest is just arguing around the fringes.

Take for example Jake Tapper grilling Paul Ryan on his health insurance plan on CNN this past Wednesday. Regarding the individual mandate, Tapper called those people who don’t buy health insurance “free riders.” Tapper thinks that people who don’t pay for government-mandated insurance are somehow getting over on the rest of us.

In fact, however, a free rider is one who gets a benefit without paying for it. If you don’t pay for health insurance, you don’t get health insurance payouts. You pay out of pocket. That’s not being a free rider.

He claimed that “responsible people” who buy health insurance would pay for those who don’t. No, they wouldn’t. The only scenario where that would be true is if everyone were forced to buy health insurance but somehow, some could get away without buying it. The only time that could happen is if the government gave people their health insurance for free. Or at reduced, subsidized rates.


In other words, it is the individual mandate itself that creates free riders.


People who don’t buy health insurance are exercising their natural right to decide for themselves whether they want insurance. Why is that so hard for Democrats to understand?


On the same afternoon, Sen. Tim Kaine was asked on camera about the individual mandate. Not surprisingly, he too felt that people who did not want to buy government-mandated health insurance were irresponsible. He actually said that people shouldn’t be given the choice.


This is the way Democrat socialists think: they know what you “should” do, and if you don’t agree, you should be forced to comply.


In response to Tapper’s prodding, Ryan was so interested in proving how the “risk pools” in his bill was a better plan that he didn’t even challenge Tapper’s assumption directly except to say “it doesn’t work in practice.” No, Speaker Ryan, it doesn’t even work in theory.

Why is that so hard for Republican legislators to understand?

It is clear by now that Democrats do not care about health care. What this debate is proving is that they are more interested in control, regardless of what that governmental control does to health care.

Health care and health insurance are not the same thing.

Note this press release by Sen. Kaine:

“Last night, Senate Republicans moved our country one step closer to health care chaos. I voted against the budget resolution because I believe it’s health care malpractice – as well as economic malpractice –  to jumpstart a legislative process that would result in hundreds of thousands of Virginia families being kicked off their insurance coverage…” -Sen. Tim Kaine press release Jan 12 ,2017

Notice that he begins by talking about health care and morphs that into health insurance. When your mom gave you a bandage or an aspirin, that was health care, too. You don’t need to run to the doctor for every little ache and pain. In 2017, you can even type your symptoms into a browser and get some pretty accurate advice.

But when the cost of something like health care approaches zero then demand skyrockets. When you’re not paying out of your own pocket, you don’t care about the cost. You go to the doctor for your band-aids and aspirin. That’s what’s destroying health care, not the number of people buying health insurance.

John Roberts got it wrong in 2012. Tax or not, the federal government doesn’t belong in the health insurance business and they have no right to penalize you for not buying their insurance. Making the penalty for non-compliance zero is just a band-aid. The next time Democrats get into power, they’ll just change the number.

Jonathan Gruber must be laughing out loud right now.