A new one from CNS News, which continues to explore Democratic nuance about the individual mandate. Your instructor here is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, whom you may remember for having once described the public option — which would ultimately undersell private insurers and force them out of business — as the, ahem, “competitive option.” She’s no stranger to Orwellian rhetorical parsing, in other words, as you’ll soon be reminded again. Her point here, I think, is that fining people for failing to buy insurance technically isn’t the same thing as requiring them to buy insurance. Don’t want to buy it? No problem — the government will simply take some of your money instead. It’s like saying you’re not “required” to pay your taxes because you can of course “choose” not to pay, in which case the IRS will simply garnish your wages and put a lien on your property. Not a perfect analogy since in my hypothetical the compulsion involves only the government and not some third-party private entity, but then, that’s what makes the mandate so goshdarned special, isn’t it?
It’s honestly amazing to me that even at this late date a liberal like Wasserman-Schultz lacks the guts to explain to her constituents honestly what the mandate is about. You want insurers to cover preexisting conditions? You want to eliminate the shared burden of medical costs incurred when uninsured people need emergency services? Then you need a biiiiiiig pool of premiums flowing in to cover the expenses, and the only way to get a pool that big is to have the government coerce people into buying. Problem is, phrasing it that way might lead voters to conclude that the loss of liberty to that form of coercion outweighs the virtues of universal health care. So here’s her attempt to finesse the point, i.e. lie.