A Macomb Daily reader called the other day and offered an
interesting argument regarding the health care law and the individual mandate.
Bob Talbot pointed out that conservatives in Michigan
tend to despise the mandate in Obamacare but they generally like the repeal of
Michigan’s helmet law for motorcyclists. Yet, the new helmet law requires those
who ride without a helmet to purchase an additional $20,000 in insurance. Isn’t
that much the same as the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which
imposes a fee on those who refuse to buy insurance?
Essentially, both laws establish a mandate but offer an
alternate mandate. In both cases, it’s the government dictating behavior.
A former motorcyclist, Talbot also noted that $20,000 is
far too low to pay the medical care for someone with a serious head injury. It’s
nearly a token requirement that really won’t defray the cost of caring for an
injured biker. Similarly, the Obamacare fee charged to those who choose to
remain uninsured is far below the true cost when care is needed and a hospital
emergency room gets stuck with the bill.
I would also add that both laws offer a cash alternative
for those who refuse to follow the norm. Don’t want to buy health insurance?
Pay a fee. Don’t want to wear a helmet? Pay for additional insurance coverage.