The Heritage Foundation has an excellent summary of the way in which the Left has finally caught on to something the Right figured out long ago; namely, that it’s unconscionable (and probably unconstitutional) for the government to force citizens to buy a product from a private purveyor:
Explaining why he would vote against the Senate version of Obamacare if he were a Senator, former-Democratic National Committee Charmian Howard Dean told MSNBC last night: “You’re going to be forced to buy health insurance from a company that is going to take on average of 27% of your money … and there is no choice about that. If you don’t buy that insurance you are going to get a fine.” For this heresy, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs suggested Dean was irrational, and asked: “I would ask Dr. Dean, how better do you address those who don’t have insurance: passing a bill that will cover 30 million who don’t currently have it or killing the bill?”
Later in the day, the successor organization to Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, Democracy for America, shot back at the White House, blasting out an e-mail that reads:
What they are actually talking about is something called the “individual mandate.” That’s a section of the law that requires every single American buy health insurance or break the law and face penalties and fines. So, the bill doesn’t actually “cover” 30 million more Americans – instead it makes them criminals if they don’t buy insurance from the same companies that got us into this mess.
And Dean’s DfA is not alone. Markos Moulitsas, the founder of one of the largest liberal blogs on the web, wrote Tuesday:
My take is that it’s unconscionable to force people to buy a product from a private insurer that enjoys sanctioned monopoly status. It’d be like forcing everyone to attend baseball games, but instead of watching the Yankees, they were forced to watch the Kansas City Royals. Or Washington Nationals. It would effectively be a tax — and a huge one — paid directly to a private industry. Without any mechanisms to control costs, this is yet another bailout for yet another reviled industry.
And firedoglake, the progressive blog that led the campaign to run Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) out of the Democratic Party, calls an individual mandate without a public option “Unacceptable For Moral, Political, And Policy Reasons” explaining:
The health insurance Americans are forced to purchase will not be affordable. Middle class families (making 300%-400% of FPL) will only get subsidies sufficient to make the premiums for the second cheapest insurance at the low quality silver level (70% actuarial) cost 10% of their income. … The individual mandate in this bill is nothing more than government-enforced private taxation on behalf of large, for-profit corporations. It would be just one more step toward corporate serfdom.
Conservatives have been making nearly identical critiques of the individual mandate since the beginning of the debate. Of course, we differ with the left on whether the public option would solve the above problems, but both progressives and conservatives are now in complete agreement that the current Senate bill would be a health care disaster for Americans.
You can read the rest of the article here.
Incidentally, the above serves, yet again, as a perfect example of the way in which Press Secretary Robert Gibbs exemplifies the arrogant condescension that characterizes the nanny state White House. After all, he effectively called more than half the nation irrational.