Brilliant! Genius! Marvelous!
Those were my thoughts as I read an editorial in today's Salem (Oregon) Statesman Journal, "DeFazio offers a common-sense solution" -- to the possibly unconstitutional mandate in the Affordable Care Act that everyone have health insurance.
Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio has a sensible proposal to fix the most controversial part of the federal health reform, the requirement that everyone buy insurance.
His idea: Make people put their money where there mouth is.
People who object to the health-care insurance mandate could sign a waiver, guaranteeing that no one else would be stuck paying their medical bills. Not the government. Not hospitals or other health-care providers.
People signing those waivers would relinquish their rights to enroll in health-care exchanges established by the reform law, to file medical bankruptcy if their bills got too big and to receive Medicaid coverage.
Sounds logical, doesn't it? If people believe a mandate is an unfair government intrusion in their lives, they could relinquish their rights to government assistance.
This should be wildly popular with the Tea Party folks who were newly elected to Congress. They're always calling for government to get off people's backs. If DeFazio's proposal becomes law, any citizen could say "no way" to the mandate to purchase health insurance.
Of course, they also would be saying "no thanks" to Medicaid, government-promoted health care exchanges, and the ability to declare bankruptcy if unpaid medical bills get too large.
Genuine libertarianism, plain and simple.
Those who don't want government telling them to buy health insurance shouldn't run for help to government programs/laws when their decision to go bare, insurance-wise, comes back and bites them in their oh-so-sick butt.
DeFazio has a full description of his proposal here. A letter to his fellow members of Congress ends with:
Join me in the common-sense fix that resolves not only the constitutional questions of the individual mandate, but also provides a workable remedy for those who do not want more federal intrusion into their lives. If they waive their right to the federal health care backstop, then they alone are burdened with their future healthcare costs.
It'll be interesting to see how many Tea Party types will walk their anti-government walk, rather than just talking their talk, by agreeing to take full responsibility for their own medical care costs -- no matter what happens to them.
My bet: very few.