This is originally a response to a post on facebook, so it’s not as complete as I might like. Feel free to discuss.
First, let me say this. You do have the right to not have health insurance. There are two consequences to this, 1) you have to pay a fine and 2) you don’t have access to health care.
The law isn’t taking away your right to choose. The law is saying that there are legal (and health) consequences of not doing something.
This is the exact same thing as any law anywhere. You can choose to follow the law or not. There are consequences for not following the law. In many cases, those consequences may be less than the price of following the law. No one is saying you don’t have the right to do what you want. What is being said is that there are consequences for not following the law.
Does the law about auto insurance violate your rights? Does the law that says you can’t dump toxic waste into streams violate your rights? Does the law that says you can’t shoot someone in cold blood violate your rights?
Yes. They all tell you that you shouldn’t (or should) do something. You can shoot someone. However, there are societal consequences for doing so. You can dump toxic waste into streams. There are social and environmental consequences for doing so.
These laws that all violate your rights are designed to provide (hopefully) the greatest good. Mandatory seatbelt laws violate your right to fly through the windshield in a collision. However, as a society, we have determined that seatbelts save lives, reduce medical expenses, reduce insurance rates, and protect people from harm, even if they would rather kill themselves. This is a worthy goal and the reason behind these laws.
Same with toxic waste in the streams. As a society, we have decided that clean, safe water is more important than your (or a companies) right to dump toxic waste. Yes, the companies complain about the cost of cleaning up their waste. But there are serious consequences to not following the law.
Same with healthcare. The simple fact that not every person in our “modern”, “advanced”, “first world” society cannot get healthcare because they can’t afford it has been determined to be detrimental to our society. The lost work days, the lost productivity, the lost revenue from unpaid medical procedures total in the tens of billions of dollars each year.
Our society has determined that it is unacceptable for that to happen. We have decided that people, all people, in our society should have access to modern healthcare. This isn’t socialism or communism or any other -ism. It’s simple humanity. It’s empathy.
Does paying for others offend you? Then you should applaud Obamacare. Because every time someone comes to a hospital with no money and no insurance, who pays? The hospital? Yeah right. No, we do. Because the hospitals and the doctors must raise their rates to cover people who don’t pay. We pay higher insurance premiums because of it. We pay for the lost productivity in higher prices for goods and services.
Does it violate your right to be without health care? Sure it does. But, the society has agreed that it is more valuable to lose that right than to lose all the benefits from universal healthcare.
Besides, you still have the right… you just have to be willing to accept the consequences.