• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Criminalizing Health-Care Freedom

    Heritage senior fellows Brian Walsh and Hans von Spakovsky have a new article out at NRO on the jail time provisions that exist in both the House and Senate bills. Read the whole thing, but here are some key graphs:

    By transforming a refusal or failure to comply with a government mandate into a federal tax violation, the “progressives” are using the brute force of criminal law to engage in social engineering. This represents an oppressive, absolutist view of government power.

    The idea of imprisoning or fining Americans who don’t knuckle under to an unprecedented government mandate to purchase a particular insurance product should outrage anyone who believes in the exceptional promises and opportunities afforded by our basic American freedoms. The idea isn’t progressive but highly regressive, the equivalent of reinstituting debtors’ prisons, a punishment Americans eliminated 160 years ago.

    Many of the Americans who will surely ignore the government health-insurance mandate may not wind up in prison. But if noncompliance becomes too widespread, any one of us could become the example the feds prosecute to make sure the iron hand of the new Washington is clearly visible to other potential “criminals.”

    Unless this paternalistic juggernaut is stopped, Americans will lose some of their most fundamental freedoms, and the power of the federal government to impose novel requirements in every facet of our personal lives will have become virtually unlimited.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Criminalizing Health-Care Freedom

    1. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      The Rule of Law is the only thing that endeavors to protect Citizens from oppression.

      But what happens when those that write law become the oppressors? Then, we are told that we are a nation of laws.

      Will the Supreme Court ultimately protect us?

      Not if enough Justices are leftists. Not if enough of them follow Mr. Progressive Woodrow Wilson (who locked up 10s of thousands of political prisoners – no one ever mentions THAT)and subscribes to the view that the Constitution is a living, breathing, document. Loosely translated – we do not see it the way the founding fathers did.

      In fact, one powerful politician referred to the founding fathers as, …the "so-called" founding fathers. What? They were not legitimate or something?

      If independent investigations were allowed, would any of our representatives qualify for jail?

    2. Stirling, Huntingdon says:

      This administration is going to make the 3rd world dictators look like saints after all is said and done. I never imagined our country being run so agressively into the ground, and the government is acting like it's all in the countries best intrest. Many people have woken up to whats going on, but the others probably won't until it directly hits them personally. I really worry that by then it might be too late to reverse it.

    3. Spiritof76 says:

      Led by fifty six American patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence and joined by many other ordinary Americans overthrew the strongest military power during the American Revolution. They all sacrificed their personal wealth, business and livelihood to achieve that dream for their posterity.

      We have to do that all over again. When will all the small and medium sized business owners declare that they are all shutting down their businesses until the Congress repeals all the laws enacted in the last thirty years along with a plan to reduce the spending and taxes? The "strike" must not stop until the US Constitution is restored with the federal government confined to the enumerated powers and no more.

      Without a massive civil disobedience, nothing will change except our children and grand children will lose liberty but gain third-worl poverty.

    4. Roger S., Ma. says:

      "Unless this paternalistic juggernaut is stopped, Americans will lose some of their most fundamental freedoms, and the power of the federal government to impose novel requirements in every facet of our personal lives will have become virtually unlimited."

      The second half of that sentence answers the question implicit in the first: "Fundamental freedoms" are indivisible. Lose even one, and you have lost them all.

      Also, the power of government will be unlimited. There will be nothing "virtual" about that, except its own discretion. And nothing "paternalistic", unless you consider a frequent "belt in the mouth" indicative of good child-rearing practices. No more "Uncle Sam", then it will be "Daddy Sam"! (We kids better all hide when he comes in the door!) The "Nanny" to be replaced with a quite dour governess.

      And that is, precisely, the actual intent. I hope nobody ever thought that "Progressives" had anything to do with progress.

    5. Katerina Nevasky says:

      Doesn't "Pelosi's Health Care Bill punish those who don't sign up for their Health Care Plan with Jail time and make it a "Felony" which means you LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE and YOUR RIGHT TO OWN A GUN?? Not to mention how hard it will be to get a job with a Felony charge on your record!!! Isn't that what's REALLY behind getting this Health Care Bill passed???

    6. Albert Campbellsvill says:

      Just look how they ignore the 10th amendment,its like it dosent even exist.In my opinion most things the feds do they have no business doing.The left loves the constitution if it suits their evil purposes,if not they disdain it.

    7. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      Dear Katerina,

      Interesting points.

      The guns for sure. Worse case scenario is that at some point the votes will not matter. Remember, citizens are allowed to vote in socialist/marxists countries also – like Cuba? Other countries have 1 choice on the ballot box, etc.

    8. Larry D says:

      Maybe all Americans that do not believe in Universal Misery Care should unite to not pay for this Obamantion of Liberty. There would not be enough jails to fit all the mal-contents. Hey, bud how's that "hope and change" working for you.

      Since this would be a Federal Crime, we would be not be allowed to possess a firearm. So, there goes your 2nd Amendment rights. Is this how the Democrats (the leftists) plan to remove or severely reduce the number of citizens of their guns?

    9. S. Gompers says:

      It is a shame that in these "orchestrated" economic times, with 10.2% unemployment, the government is willing to legislate these unwitting masses into criminality, while pampering the criminal elite responsible. You cannot even get a real criminal into jail these days.

      In China, when they need more workers for the "labor camps", they merely arrest more. The more we "borrow", the more we become like our "benefactor".


      Perhaps now, they seek to move the camps here, for the new wave of "criminals" to "work" off their crime. We are truly a one party system, left and right wing socialist.

      Our founders are probably rolling in their graves…

      A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the galleys, heard in the very hall of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor—he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and wears their face and their garment, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation—he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city—he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared…….Cicero, 42 B.C.E.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.