I don't like the fact that we didn't at least get a public option to compete against these insurance companies to drive down costs, or better yet at least some moves toward a single-payer system, as most of us on the left would have preferred over what we got in the Affordable Care Act. That said, I'm sick and tired of those on the right, who were happy to keep the status quo which left millions with no insurance at all making the sort of remarks we saw from Brit Hume here on Fox News Sunday.
While making more predictions of doom and gloom for the ACA during their panel segment, and concern trolling about red state corporate-crat Blue Dog god awful Democrats wanting to do something about the slew of campaign ads which might be coming, attacking them for President Obama's statements about people being able to keep their health insurance, Hume decided to jump the shark and defend the so-called "free riders" out there who don't ever think they're going to need insurance.
As Fox faux-liberal Juan Williams rightfully pointed out, the people who are foolish enough to think they are never going to get sick or be injured were already costing those of us with insurance much higher premiums, but that didn't matter to Hume.
In Hume's world, those "free riders" ought to be "free" to go without health insurance so the rest of us can be "free" to pick up their tab.
Williams didn't even mention here that they were also costing us money in the most inefficient way possible, like showing up at emergency rooms for their care instead of receiving preventive care and going to a doctor before something turns into an emergency.
I just have to wonder what else Hume thinks people ought to be "free" to go without. Does he think he ought to be "free" to drive a car with no insurance? We should be regulating the hell out of these markets and making sure we've got affordable options for everyone if this is the route we're going to take instead of single-payer or actual socialized medicine like the VA, but pretending what was the status quo is acceptable as Hume did here is just patently ridiculous.
WALLACE: Juan, some of those Democratic Senators, Mary Landrieu are now talking about introducing legislation to -- if you want your plan you can keep it. And to delay some of the penalties, to mention -- to delay the entire individual mandate a year.
WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think that that's going to happen, I think that, you know, they have to ...
WALLACE: They have to introduce them or they are not going to get passed.
WILLIAMS: They won't be introduced or passed, I mean the Republicans might introduce it, but not something that the Democrats, something (inaudible) Democrats support in any substantial numbers. I think what you are going to see is potentially some kind of extension of the enrollment period. So that it would compensate for the month it's lost so far given the problems with the website. But, you know, you keep in mind, we are about a month into this thing. There is four months left. Normally, in terms of the Medicare situation, you have a six month enrollment period. Here you have a six month enrollment period. But in Massachusetts, where things were rolled out, they had computer problems and they had a year for people to enroll. So, if that is the model, potentially you could have an extension of the enrollment period.
WALLACE: But, of course, if you extend that, then we begin to get into the problem that the young healthies happen and gotten involved in the marketplace and the exchanges, they are not paying premiums and therefore other, the sick, vulnerable people with all this extra benefits are going to pay higher premiums.
HUME: Well, yes, George, I mean, Chris -- think of this. The idea is to get them signed up. Think of all of the things that are working against that right now. Staying on your parent's plan until you are 26. It takes a big chunk of young healthy people out of the potential buyer population for individual plans. Worries about the security of the website, when it finally gets up and running. There are all kinds of concerns about that expressed by responsible people. On top of that is that the penalty if you decide not to go out and buy a plan is light the first year. So, you add these things together and the possibility that if you go -- if you'd lost your plan and you are relatively young and healthy and you go and look on the website, then what is available to you, is not like it couldn't be better. You have seen that repeatedly. Your two -- (inaudible) your guests are example of that. They found out what it will be like when they go and try to buy something. And it didn't work out for them. There are going to be many more like them. This is -- this post -- delaying the mandate means that sometimes next year, in the election year, all these problems returns.
WILLIAMS: I didn't say delay -- I said -- I said ...
HUME: Extend. OK.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, extend the enrollment period.
WALLACE: Delay the deadline
WILLIAMS: But what you are saying is contrary to the fact that a lot of those young people, Brit, don't have insurance.
HUME: Yes, a lot of them ...
WILLIAMS: So, this is much better than not having insurance.
HUME: Juan, Juan, excuse me. It is much better than not having insurance according to who? According to Big Brother. Now, for many of these people, young and healthy and very unlikely to need medical care of almost any kind, not having insurance is a perfectly rational choice.
WILLIAMS: It's not rational.
HUME: You know ...
WILLIAMS: These people are free riders on our insurances. As every time you go to the hospital, I go to the hospital, we pay higher prices, we pay higher insurance ...
HUME: Who's not paying higher prices?
WILLIAMS: ... because of these free riders. And those people with no insurance want some confidence that if they get -- that if anything happens they go see a doctor.
HUME: Then if they want it, they ought to be willing to pay for it. They are not willing to pay for it, it may well be that being free people, they feel free to make that choice. I think ...
WALLACE: As I said to you before you have to have sharp elbows here.
WILL: Brit says, the penalty is too small to be effectively coercive for the young people. They aren't allowed (ph) to call it a penalty. Remember, it is a tax.
HUME: Right. WILL: The Chief Justice says it's a tax, not a penalty, because it must be too low, in order to count as a tax, and not a penalty, and if you raise it enough to be effective it is no longer a tax, it's a penalty, and the whole thing is unconstitutional.
LIASSON: And it's can't be collected anyway, because the only way you can collect it is if you apply for a refund and it can be docked against that. Otherwise uncollectable and too small to make a difference.