Americans Don’t Want Health Insurance? Since When?

Photo (cc) by Fibonacci Blue

When I graduated from college, there were a few months prior to starting my first “real” job when I didn’t have health insurance. Or I wouldn’t have, at least, if my parents hadn’t insisted on it.

Even though I was a healthy 21-year-old, my parents wouldn’t have considered allowing me to exist without health insurance, even for one day. Why? Simple.

As my parents, they would have felt obligated to step up financially in the event of a major health care catastrophe. They worked exceedingly hard their entire lives to accumulate their nest egg. There was no way they were going to allow me to put that at risk because I was too stupid or cheap to shell out a couple of hundred bucks for insurance.

I’ve gone through life ever since assuming there are only two kinds of people: those who had health insurance and those who needed it. And until recently, that belief has been borne out. While I’ve certainly met people who couldn’t afford health insurance, I’ve never met a single person who didn’t want it.

So imagine my surprise — shock, really — to recently learn that apparently a lot of my fellow citizens not only don’t want health insurance, they’re absolutely livid at the suggestion they be forced to buy it.

Here’s a recent comment from our Facebook page. I’ve seen many in the same vein all over the Internet and on TV.

I’m looking for people who want to join me to sue the government when they try to penalize us for not buying health insurance. Can the “land of the free” force us to buy something that we don’t want, or don’t need?

Forget being a Republican, a Democrat or independent. Comments like this leave me honestly confused. How can you not want health insurance? How can you not need it? What are you going to do if you get sick and start getting bills you can’t pay? More to the point, what are you doing now?

Is the mandate the problem?

The only possible reason I can conjure up for so many people being so angry is because Obamacare involves the government making us do something. Is that it? If so, I get it. At least, kind of.

I wasn’t happy when my state passed a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. Nor was I thrilled when seat belt laws came into vogue. In my mind, I was only risking my own safety, so it was nobody else’s business. Then it was explained to me: If my lack of a helmet or seat belt resulted in injuries requiring treatment beyond my ability to pay, the burden would fall to society. So society had a right to mandate that I protect myself from myself.

That’s something I could understand. And lo and behold, it’s the same argument behind Obamacare. Not similar. It’s identical.

There are other government mandates and actions I’ve taken exception to over the years. I’ve never been happy about my fellow citizens potentially spending years in prison (at my expense, no less) for smoking pot. I’ve never been wild about 25 cents of every dollar I pay in income taxes going to pay for weapons and warriors. I’ve always found it odd that I pay thousands in property taxes to support schools when I have no children. And should I fail to pay them, the house I paid for can be seized and sold.

You get the point. No matter what your politics are, you can always find something a government agency mandates that you don’t like. And from mandatory car liability insurance to mandatory draft registration, our nation has been full of them since I’ve been around.

But health insurance? Here I get confused. It makes no difference to me whether the government mandates it or not, because my parents, along with common sense, made it a personal mandate long ago. If you don’t have insurance, get sick and run out of money, you’re OK with allowing your fellow citizens to foot your bill? How do you justify that?

So you tell me: What’s the beef?

I ask this question honestly and without judgment of any kind. I’m simply trying to understand why anyone, of any political persuasion, demographic or income category would voluntarily choose to go through life without health insurance.

After all, except for those relatively few who die suddenly, we’re all going to get sick someday. And even if you’re wealthy enough to pay the bill — which few of us are — you certainly wouldn’t want to. So, for those of you out there who are screaming about how you don’t want health insurance, please help me understand why.

Don’t tell me about why you hate Obamacare: I get it. Don’t tell me you hate mandates: I’m with you. But if you simply don’t like health insurance — and that seems to be what the reader above and many others are saying — I’m lost. Please take a minute and help me understand why you don’t want or need health insurance, as well as what your backup plan is.

Comment below or on our Facebook page. Seriously. I’m dying to know.

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