Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mass. "Health Care"

This story, which describes the predictable, nay inevitable, failure of the Massachussetts "health care" plan, is interesting not only for the facts it conveys, but perhaps even more so for the attitudes of those debating the issue.

First a few of the facts:
One of the most radical fixtures of the law is the so-called "individual mandate" — the requirement that virtually everyone have health insurance or face tax penalties.

Anyone deemed able to afford health insurance but who refused to buy it during 2007 already faces the loss of a $219 personal tax exemption. New monthly fines that kicked in this year could total as much as $912 for individuals and $1,824 for couples by December.
Businesses are also on the hook. Those with 11 or more full time employees who refuse to offer insurance face $295 annual penalties per employee. Already, 748 employers have failed to meet that threshold and have paid $6.6 million to the state.
The euphemism "individual mandate" is intended to hide the fact that this is just another tax by which the individual forfeits his rights to the state. The proponents of the plan of course don't even feel the perfunctory need to couch the penalty to businesses in such language because, according to them, it's widely understood that businesses not only don't have rights, but are the root of all evil.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out which type of people this will attract to the state, and which it will repel.

In terms of attitudes, the fact that the obvious and abject failure of the plan doesn't phase any proponent is telling, but even more so is this observation:
"The two sides agree on nothing accept[sic] for one thing: They hate our little ecumenical experiment here in Massachusetts," he said. "It's almost as if they are the health care fundamentalists and we're like the heretics because we are coming together."
This is indicative of how the modern world approaches issues: either you're a dogmatic authoritarian (in this case advocating freedom!) or you're a pragmatic skeptic (in this case "trying out" socialism). I fear that until the idea that issues can be discussed and resolved objectively (i.e. by reasoning based on facts and principles) is revived, no progress will be made on these matters, and the culture will continue to spiral downwards.


Blogger Paul Hsieh said...

Thanks for highlighting both the failure of the MA plan and the interesting perceived dichotomy between dogmatists (theory without facts) and empiricists (facts without theory).

BTW, the link to the article is bad -- it has an extra string on the front end pointing to your own site rather than the Yahoo! news site.

3:06 AM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Thanks Paul, you're a great proof reader! (Not sure how that one happened.)

8:17 AM  

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