Hey, I actually agree with Keith Olbermann in this clip — although not for the same reasons. I think a federal mandate to buy health insurance from a government-selected list of choices is “heinous,” too, but that doesn’t rely on whether the same government offers its own health-care plan in the exchange. It’s heinous when the federal government dictates to its citizens far outside the constrained powers granted it in the Constitution, and it’s also illegal (via The College Politico):
I want to address this point:
“We must not buy federally-mandated insurance, if this cheesy counterfeit of reform is all we can buy. No single payer, no sale. No public option, no sale. No Medicare buy-in, no sale. I am one of the self-insured, albeit by choice, and I hereby pledge that I will not buy this perversion of health-care reform.”
What Olbermann says here is that while he’s self-insured by choice now, he doesn’t think that’s a choice other Americans should be able to make if the federal government offers a public plan along with the mandate. Does that make any sense at all? Would Olbermann dump his self-insurance, presumably taking advantage of HSAs and market-based competition for his health-care dollars, in favor of a Medicare buy-in or a public option? After all, Olbermann seems blessed with good health, and withholding himself from the risk pools could be arguably skewing costs upwards (infinitesimally) for other Americans. And if that seems like a silly argument, well, that’s the argument for insisting on a mandate in the first place.
Olbermann would be better off insisting that other Americans get the same choice he already has, rather than demanding a single-payer system or its precursors (public option and Medicare buy-ins) that would strip us all of those choices. Americans should join Olbermann on his call for civil disobedience on federal health-care mandates, but ironically in order to allow Olbermann to continue choosing to eliminate third-party payers from forcing themselves between Olbermann and his medical care.