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  • Morning Bell: The Left's Righteous War Against the Individual Mandate

    Explaining why he would vote against the Senate version of Obamacare if he were a Senator, former-Democratic National Committee Charmian Howard Dean told MSNBC last night: “You’re going to be forced to buy health insurance from a company that is going to take on average of 27% of your money … and there is no choice about that. If you don’t buy that insurance you are going to get a fine.” For this heresy, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs suggested Dean was irrational, and asked: “I would ask Dr. Dean, how better do you address those who don’t have insurance: passing a bill that will cover 30 million who don’t currently have it or killing the bill?”

    Later in the day, the successor organization to Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, Democracy for America, shot back at the White House, blasting out an e-mail that reads:

    What they are actually talking about is something called the “individual mandate.” That’s a section of the law that requires every single American buy health insurance or break the law and face penalties and fines. So, the bill doesn’t actually “cover” 30 million more Americans – instead it makes them criminals if they don’t buy insurance from the same companies that got us into this mess.

    And Dean’s DfA is not alone. Markos Moulitsas, the founder of one of the largest liberal blogs on the web, wrote Tuesday:

    My take is that it’s unconscionable to force people to buy a product from a private insurer that enjoys sanctioned monopoly status. It’d be like forcing everyone to attend baseball games, but instead of watching the Yankees, they were forced to watch the Kansas City Royals. Or Washington Nationals. It would effectively be a tax — and a huge one — paid directly to a private industry. Without any mechanisms to control costs, this is yet another bailout for yet another reviled industry.

    And firedoglake, the progressive blog that led the campaign to run Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) out of the Democratic Party, calls an individual mandate without a public option “Unacceptable For Moral, Political, And Policy Reasons” explaining:

    The health insurance Americans are forced to purchase will not be affordable. Middle class families (making 300%-400% of FPL) will only get subsidies sufficient to make the premiums for the second cheapest insurance at the low quality silver level (70% actuarial) cost 10% of their income. … The individual mandate in this bill is nothing more than government-enforced private taxation on behalf of large, for-profit corporations. It would be just one more step toward corporate serfdom.

    Conservatives have been making nearly identical critiques of the individual mandate since the beginning of the debate. Of course, we differ with the left on whether the public option would solve the above problems, but both progressives and conservatives are now in complete agreement that the current Senate bill would be a health care disaster for Americans. And the American people agree. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, the American people oppose Obamacare 51% to 44%. And when the NBC News/Wall Street Journal asked about specific provisions of health care reform, guess which aspect is the least popular: the individual mandate. A full 57% Americans told NBC News they do not want Obamacare to create “a law that requires everyone to have health insurance coverage.” With only 38% of Americans supporting it, the individual mandate is the least popular portion of the bill.

    Finally let’s not forgot that it wasn’t long ago that candidate-Barack Obama was also against the individual mandate. During his February 21, 2008 debate with then-Senator Clinton, Obama said: “Now, Massachusetts has a mandate right now. They have exempted 20 percent of the uninsured because they have concluded that that 20 percent can’t afford it. In some cases, there are people who are paying fines and still can’t afford it, so now they’re worse off than they were. They don’t have health insurance and they’re paying a fine.” According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Senate Obamacare bill would do the exact same thing, forcing 19 million Americans to pay $29 billion in taxes/fines and receive no health care in return. No wonder the left is yearning for candidate-Obama they had instead of the President Obama they have.

    Quick Hits:

    UPDATE: An earlier version of this post credited NBC News with a poll showing 51% – 44% opposition to Obamacare.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    35 Responses to Morning Bell: The Left's Righteous War Against the Individual Mandate

    1. Paul Terry Stone says:

      Did the Democrat leadership threaten Sen. Ben Nelson with the closure of Nebraska's military bases to get his vote?

    2. Harry, Illinois says:

      Who in the world will want to be president once Obama (and lets not forget Joe) Pelosi, Reed Dodd, Kerry etc get done screwing things up so bad that the government will have to be dismantled and we'll have to start all over. Now, that is what I will call "INHERITING" a mess.

      The country voted for "CHANGE" and that is what they are getting. Change for the worse. May God Bless America. We will need his blessing, once this is over.

    3. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      The real "Democratic Party" and true "Liberalism" have been dead and buried for a long time. The Leftist Socialists are no more democratic than Castro or Chaves! They have cleverly hid behind the names "Democrat" and "Liberal" and too many people are fooled by this.

      The Republican Party has also lost its way and until they redefine themselves along Conservative Principles and the Constitution, I will consider myself an Independent.

      There is nothing good about Big (Pig) Government. Everything proposed by Leftist liberals should always be questioned because it's based lies upon lies.

      The Leftists are in disarray because of their differences in degree of fanaticism but not because of any change in principles.

    4. Paullette, Wisconsin says:

      There are so many issues in the body of this bill that ethical Democrats have to wince at the thought of passing this concoction! Come on people ! Howard Dean has stepped forward, Lieberman, Nelson, — do the rest of you want to take the rap for passing this enslavement number. There must be a couple of you who still value ethics and your reputations. You are not responsible for making this WH's "place in history" at the peril of your own consciences. This bill is a monster and you/we all know it. RESIST

    5. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Far left Howard Dean is simply too impatient. He'd love nothing more than completely trashing the private insurance market and placing all healthcare under federal government control. This while greatly hiking taxes to cover their massive per GDP increase. His statement is nothing more than a socialist wolf in conservative clothing.

      Respectfully request that the HF share their conservative bloggers' crucial Christmas wish with the U.S. Senate, KILL the BILL! It's an absolutely disastrous plan being laid out for the American people. Any senator who votes with Harry best pack their bags in preparation for November's election returns.

    6. Salverda, Hugo, MN says:

      You've heard it said, "we need universal health insurance," and yet I say unto you, "nobody needs insurance." People need water, food, shelter, and sick people do need health care, but insurance is not a necessity to anybody. The argument favoring insurance is, "health care costs too much," however, the insurance industry itself sets the price. They want to make health care expensive, thereby forcing us into purchasing insurance. It’s tremendously expensive to operate an insurance company. There are shareholders who want big profits, the company's officers make millions, they have huge office buildings, employ a fleet of lawyers, and there are lawsuits that they have to pay. They afford these things with our "health care" dollar. Their fiduciary responsibilities are to deny health care claims wherever they can. Furthermore those clinics that control our doctors and nurses, also have to pay for specialized receptionists who know all about insurance, claims adjusters, and medical coding specialists. Obviously these are all administrative costs and aren’t related to health at all! Does anybody seriously believe that funding the entire insurance industry with our health care dollar makes health care cheaper? Our politicians seem to think so, but then again they take money from the insurance lobbyists as campaign contributions. The media seems to think so, but then again they are heavily sponsored by insurance companies who can withdraw that sponsorship at any time. The public is thereby being deliberately misinformed.

    7. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      PS: I'm an independent voter.

    8. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Ah, Obamacare, we hardly knew ye! It's been said that the rats are always the first to abandon the sinking ship. It's true. Lieberman, Snowe, and Nelson, are all abandoning the sinking

      ship known as Obamacare. "Come the Revolution," as they say, you will like strawberries and cream!" The proponents of

      Obamacare are hoping that "come the revolution, you will like

      strawberries cream!" Ain't gonna happen, Tovarich.

    9. Mark Y Durango,Co says:

      Anyone with even part of a brain, can clearly see the so called insurance reform, healthcare reform, or what ever they"re calling it now, has nothing to do with health. To the house, senate and any supporter of this government take over, instead of destroying the best healthcare system on the planet, just leave. No one is stopping you from leaving the country. If you want communism, socialism, marxism or a simple dictatorship there are plenty of counties who will welcome you. If you want to live in a country with no freedom then go to venezuela,iran,russia or north korea just to name a few. It was not very long ago obama was whining about the cost of drugs in America,( no not his cocain). Well they just voted against importing cheaper approved drugs from canada or mexico or anywhere else for that matter,why? This administation is destroying our economy, weakining our military and embarrassing us worldwide. It is the rugged individualism and entrepreneurial spirit that drives Americas greatness. Not a nanny socialist government. So please don"t let this wonderful, proud, strong and compassionate country I have fought and bled for do decline into mediocrity. The United States has been the only Shining City On The Hill, Let"s keep it that way. oohrahh

    10. Russ Laubinger , Bur says:

      Dear Folks at My Heritage,

      I have been a member now for 4 months and had been receiving "The Morning Bell" report daily until last October?? Suddenly for whatever reason, they stopped. So I have called Heritage in DC twice and asked to have it begin again but to my great dismay, it has not shown up?? Please send me an email today as to why this happened and please continue sending my Morning Bell Report ASAP. Thank you.

      Russ Laubinger

    11. RICHARD,fl says:

      Why doesn't someone just tell the truth? The plan is not feasible

      for a country of our size and problems.We also do not have socialism yet,but if certain people have there way we will. The

      problem that has caused this all is that congress has allowed

      the insurance company's to do what they want and the pharmaceutical company's also. This is what needing so much money to run for office will do. Tell me what is the difference between a dictatorship and what congress is doing to America.

    12. Prevailer76AZ says:

      Capitalism is becoming a dirty word thanks to a certain faction of dictators and wanna-be-dictators who see it as a threat. All this when it is capitalism that has created the most envied and generous nation on earth. We have given and loaned billions to starving countries, and yet tyrants such as Chavez paint us as the greedy enemy. But only because we recognize him and his like for what they are. Their power has resulted from hostile take-overs and corruption at the polls. We do not want that to happen here.

    13. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Anybody wonder how people would react if all of this "Hope-a-Bama Change-a-cary" got us so broke that over half the population would require psychological counseling for their frequent nervous breakdowns, and then some dude were to suggest a nice "single prayer" universal "soul care" system with mandatory, pay-as-you-go, weekly attendance at group therapy sessions? Mind you, not YOUR church, but the Government "church"! And you HAVE TO go: they take attendance — and report you to the IRS for your fine or jail-term if you don't show!

      "He's nuts", you say of me, "that can never happen, 1st Amendment and all that".

      Yes, well, probably not. Not even this administration would ever go THAT far! But, discounting for a moment the explicit Constitutional illegality of the establishment of a state religion, where is the difference in PRINCIPLE between what that kind of "religious mandate" would do to your soul, versus what the proposed Health Care bills will do to your body? Where we would be deprived of freedom of choice in the next-most-intimate issues of our life, under the threat of severe penalties, can there be any freedoms left worth naming?

      Is not the essence of the "right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", that no government might ever again force upon a citizen such a split? To treat his body with far less care than his soul? To make nearly every aspect of his private life subject to public scrutiny and determination? Excepting only the few things spoken in the privacy of one's own mind to one's God? If these proposed bills, House or Senate, be constitutional, then we have never had a Constitution worthy of the name!

      To me, this has long ago ceased being an issue of affordability, or of the morality of having to subsidize some neighborly ne'er-do-well, or of the dubious integrity of some unaccountable public officials deciding what I'm entitled to or when I should prepare to count my remaining days. NO! To me, it has become an issue of limits. There have to be, and certainly our Constitution meant there to be, limits to the demands which the Government could legitimately make. If this bill passes in any form, then there seem to be no limits left which the government might not in the future find equally fit to transgress under some pretext. And if that is so, then we might as well join the Copenhagen delegates in cheering Chavez for his remarks about "the silent and terrible ghost (of Capitalism) in the room."

    14. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      I think we need to leave health care alone, we have the best in the world. Those that want insurance can get it, those that don't can do with out. We already have to many on Medicar, and lots of them can work, but elect not to. I for one am tired of paying some to sit at home or engage in illegal activity and then have to pay their medical bills too. The orginal plan for medicare was to help the seniors, those that have to live on a fixed income, after working for decades. The dems then expanded the program to cover many people, they in turn found a way to milk the system and have been very sucessfull in their effort.

      This whole thing with health care is about power and controll, socialist medicine is not the way to go. If you have doubts go to the nearest VA Hospital and you will witness socialist medecine at its best. It is great for those that have years to work, but the older ones like mysef, are sent to the back burner. We are told to wait, or just ignored many time, we are a liability not an assect to society.

    15. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      After the statement made by Hugo Chavez it is clear the US should stop ALL aid to any declared Socialist, Militant Islamic, or other "hater of capitalism" country. We have been far to generous with aid and given we are broke – enough is enough. I agree that we need to be self reliant and energy independent – so how about saying adios to Hugo and the like and open our vast energy resources for OUR country and let them swim in their own oil. Something about 'The Golden Goose' comes to mind.

    16. Dave, Laguna Niguel says:

      All credit due for the decline of our country is square on the shoulders of a corrupt and controlled media. Instead of being objective and JUST REPORTING, why is the MSM so intent on CONTROLLING THE POPULATION with SOCIALIST PROGRAMS? If thats what MSM and HOLLYWOOD want, lets give it to them NOW! Take all their money and property, spread it among those IN NEED(hey under socialism we are all the same and have the same!), then put them in an average apartment with and average income, then see how they like a 50% tax hit! Hey, its what they want for us so lets give it to them NOW! So Dear Pres. Obama, if you want to see a group of people so overpaid, over-drugged, over hyped, a group of people who produce NOTHING for anyone but themselves, look at Hollywood.

    17. jim toledo says:

      This is like a 3 ring circus and the clowns are just running into one another. If this wasn't so serious it would be laughable watching these Democratic Senators acting like a bunch of clowns. I'd sure like to know who the 47% are that support the President? How can anone with any intelligence support a 10%+ unemployment rate, a national debt at about 12.4 trillion, the continued spending of money we don't have, 100 billion in monies being given to 3rd world countries to stabilize their environments and the continued debacle surrounding this health care bill. Isn't enough, enough?

    18. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      Our leaders have no clue that we are bankrupt they are out their acting like all the money in the world belongs to them even alan greenspan said today that if we did not reverse course the end is near. They MUST be impeached, fired, removed. We must get at LEAST 50% of them changed for real people in 2010 or we are finished as a nation.

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    22. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      There is a reason that on Meet the Press, last Sunday, they said , "The number of Independents registered in the United States is now higher than either the Republicans and the Democrats." Now if only the various groups of Independent thinkers would gather their resouces together, what an explosion they would make taking over the Houses in D.C.

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    25. Bob R Geologist, Tuc says:

      It is difficult enough for science to figure out what the Earth is going to do next without political screwballs pushing their policy of AGW and its silly demonizing of CO2. Now the whole world thinks all they have to do to keep climate on an even keel is to contain the production of this vital gas. This will produce a variety of results, none good. For instance, 1) Fickleness of climate will remain unchanged. 2) Crops will not do well world-wide if they are successful in reducing CO2 and millions will starve in 3rd world countries. 3)All the world's Gov'ts will be bankrupt. 4)As the Earth has been in a cooling mode for many millions of years and beset with cyclic glaciations the past 1.75 million years, the end of our present interglacial period comes suddenly with a blast of arctic air. As we have spent all our money on climate control and closed all of our coal burning power plants, civilized humanity perishes, freezing in the dark. Only the most primitive humans who are still hunter-gatherers, the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert in S. Africa and the Aboriganies of Australia remain. If any environmentalists survive they are undoubtedly delirously happy with the new order of things.

    26. Judith in Michigan says:

      To Ben C of An Arbor. I agree with you completely, but don't look for this administration to ever consider cutting off the Marxist dictators of the world because Mr. O & Co are of the same mind. Capitalism must go. Can hardly wait to hear what Mr. O has to say in his speech in Copenhagen. It should be enlightening. The destruction of America is underway, and the world will applaud & cheer him.

    27. Roger, Henderson, Nv says:

      Is Howard getting ready to run for president in 2012 ?????????

    28. Harry, Illinois says:

      I wonder if there would be enough prisons to go around if everyone refused to pay? What are the alternatives? Free housing, Free Health Care, Free Food, etc. etc. etc. What are they going to do with the homeless people laying up and down Pennsylvania Ave. Throw them in Jail as well? After, all, they don't have any income, they don't file income taxes and they don't have healthcare. As Pelosi would say then, "Are You Serious, Are You Serious".

    29. Robert Ivy, Dawsonvi says:

      Sure, increase the national debt ceiling and spend more money we don't have.

      We are seeing just what the billionaires and millionairs are thinking about. They don't realize their money is being devalued to the extent that it is nothing but paper with ink, backed by mindless institutions that are all powerful.

      Have you ever tried to spend yourself out of debt?

    30. Puzzled, Juneau says:

      Yes, democrats are waking up to the looming mandatory health insurance disaster. But words like 'corporate serfdom' are far too mild. I think the correct term for mandatory, compulsory purchase of any product or service, under penalty of law and without any 'outs', is under any reasonable reading 'involuntary servitude' (Wikipedia has a good article on the term). So it seems to me that a much stronger argument than the mandate being outside the scope of enumerated powers is that it is actually expressly forbidden by the 13th Amendment, which plainly states that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist anywhere in the U.S. I'd sure like to see an essay on that specific point by someone qualified to research it. But on the surface, it seems so plainly outside the scope of enumerated powers and so plainly forbidden by the 13th Amendment that I really *am* puzzled, and aghast, at what is proposed.

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    32. Christian, Fresno Ca says:

      The issue of healthcare has been in the headlines since before the 2008 election, and the majority of Americans agree that it needs the system needs reformed. One part the purposed solution is a mandate requring uninsured indivuals to buy insurance or be fined by the IRS. This mandate does not go far enough.

      A stronger method is needed to achieve the root goal of healthcare. I humbly suggest mandate requiring individuals to stay healthy. If a person falls ill or injures themselves, there shall be a government fee instilled on them in addition to the normal medical cost. If this fee is not paid, legal action can be taken against them.

      With this system in place, it will lower healthcare cost by making it illegal for people to become sick or injured. It will reduce the shared risk to insurance companies by assuring everyone is a healthy low risk individual. It is already the law that a person must have healthy eye sight to drive an automobile. Therefore it is the same as a mandate for an individual to stay healthy. This mandate reduces the cost of healthcare to everyone. No one but criminals will ever fall ill again.

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