Except it isn’t sinister, and the only thing tricky is the math conservatives are again using to criticize their own health reform plan. In 2011, the average price for an individual plan was $2,196 per year. According to the standards of the individual mandate, individuals making less than $27,500 ($2,196 is 8% of $27,500) would be exempt from the mandate. Median individual income in 2011 was $26,364. For those of you who either don’t like statistics (most of you if you are normal), or are used to conservomath, this means that fully half of the wage earners in the United States would be exempt from the mandate.
But for liberals, that is where the celebration must end. The Court’s holding that states may opt out from the Medicaid expansion creates a potentially larger pool of individuals who will some day be faced with the penalty. It also serves to exacerbate the problem of coverage facing many predominately red states; states with low participation rates currently paired with stiff Medicaid participation requirements. And make no mistake, the pairing of the state opt-out ability, and the finding that the mandate is only constitutional as a tax, creates a political double jeopardy for this election campaign.
The notion of democracy, the foundation driven into bedrock of the ideal, is the ability of a people to collectively control their environment. The democracy shared via the voting public it governs, must be able to influence the marketplace to the benefit of the majority, while safeguarding the entire population from external threats and the erosion of individual liberty. It is, as a number of folks have said over the years, a case study in advanced citizenship.
My relative doesn’t like “socialized medicine”. She is alive today because of the Social Security and Medicaid systems, but in her mind, those two sentiments are perfectly compatible. Her brother has lived in Germany for most of his adult life, and struggled mightily with many debilitating problems. Were he to have had the same problems in America, it is unlikely he would be alive today. But my relative was ardently complaining about the German system of socialized medicine. She was upset that “they” wouldn’t approve of a certain treatment. She thought (and thinks) it wrong that the poor of the world should be denied health care. But she doesn’t like “socialized medicine”.