Socialized healthcare and the “choice” lie

Posted by: ST on September 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Back in July, I wrote about the news that under the Senate’s version of ObamaCare, Americans who – after all is said and done with this bill – fail to sign up for a so-called “affordable” healthcare plan could face fines over $1,000 from the federal government – fines the feds plan on using to help “pay” for this monstrosity of a bill.

Well, as it turns out, Senator John Ensign confirmed this yesterday that a failure to pay those fines could lead to up to a $25,000 fine and up to a year in jail:

Americans who fail to pay the penalty for not buying insurance would face legal action from the Internal Revenue Service, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The remarks Thursday from the committee’s chief of staff, Thomas Barthold, seems to further weaken President Barack Obama’s contention last week that the individual mandate penalty, which could go as high as $1,900, is not a tax increase.

Under questioning from Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Barthold said the IRS would “take you to court and undertake normal collection proceedings.”

Ensign pursued the line of questioning because he said a lot of Americans don’t believe the Constitution allows the government to mandate the purchase of insurance.

“We could be subjecting those very people who conscientiously, because they believe in the U.S. Constitution, we could be subjecting them to fines or the interpretation of a judge, all the way up to imprisonment,” Ensign said. “That seems to me to be a problem.”

Yeah – a big one.

To confirm the Joint Committee on Taxation issued a handwritten note to Ensign clarifying exactly what the failure to pay the fine could lead to:

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) received a handwritten note Thursday from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance.

Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it “Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold.”

Bruce McQuain gets right to the point:

What were the twin goals President Obama’s reform given in his speech to a joint session of Congress? Oh, yeah, he wanted there to be “competition” so the consumer had a “choice”. That’s become a Democratic talking point now.

But choice, apparently, doesn’t extend beyond the faux choice of the public option. If you choose not to buy insurance, your choice is then reduced to a fine or jail or perhaps, both.


The banality of totalitarianism.

Hope and change in the land of the free.


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22 Responses to “Socialized healthcare and the “choice” lie”


  1. Craig says:


    So now we finally know what all those camps are for! To hold all the millions criminals who don’t have (or want) health insurance!

    But then the question is: If you get sent to jail for not paying the health coverage extortion, do you get medical benefits in jail? And if so, do they send your family the bill like the Chinese did for the executioners bullet?

  2. Ron Russell says:

    Craig, you make a great point—those in jail get free medical care(ok, its not free,tax-payers pick up the tab).

  3. ShiftyJohn says:

    You’d think that aleast someone would bring up the fact that federally provided health care would violate the 9th & 10th amendments.

  4. Neo says:

    Democrats in Baucus’ Senate Finance Committee voted to keep the bill secret from the public until it’s law and there’s no chance to improve or reject it. And we’re not supposed to wonder what’s in the $900 billion legislation.

  5. Carlos says:

    Let me get this straight. The loonies are saying it is a “right” to have medical/health care. They also say one has to buy insurance to cover that care.

    Ya know, for the life of me I can’t think of another “right” I have as a citizen of this going-down-the-tubes country that I have to pay for.

    But we’re sure ’nuff finding stuff the Constitution says the guvmint can’t legally do that we’re payin’ through the nose for.

  6. Great White Rat says:

    John, we’re dealing with die-hard statists here. To them, the Constitution is an annoying scrap of paper that is to be ignored whenever it conflicts with their plans for more power and control over our lives.

  7. bertie says:

    If I become a Christian Scientist can I refuse to buy health insurance on religious grounds?

  8. 2Hotel9 says:

    Oh, its not a lie, you have a choice. Get on your knees, surrender everything, and beg for medical care. Or lay in the street and die. See? You have a choice.

    Or the 3rd option. Stand on your feet, take up arms and drive the socialist enemies from our country.

    Easy choice, in the end.

  9. James says:

    As a veteran, I have seen a little violence. IF God forbid, we were forced into option three, at least we would die free with more money left to pay for the care of remaining sheep.

  10. Mary says:

    But for the very poor who can’t afford the healthcare, or those who don’t qualify for subsidies and still can’t afford it……what percentage of those will be African Americans?

    If they’re places in jail for not paying, won’t Obama’s Black supporters complain that there are already too many Blacks in prison, and therefore, it’s a RACIST policy?

    Will Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson complain?

  11. Kate says:

    Mary, the very poor have health care. They are covered by state and federal assistance that gives them Medicaid. Their children are cover by S-CHIP. They have WIC for food and food stamps. They are covered. WE are talking about health insurance here, not health care. The people who will be penalized are the working people who chose not to use their own resources to pay for health care insurance. If you decide, you don’t need it and are willing to take the risk that you won’t have a catastrophic illness, isn’t that your choice? The problem is these people would probably buy affordable health insurance that covers just catastrophic care if is were available at reasonable price. What the democrats seem to think is that they must mandate coverage and fine people if they refuse the “privilege”. The real problem is the managed control of health insurance by the various state insurance commissioners that do no allow insurance companies to compete nationally. The cost is high because Dr’s fees are inflated due to high malpractice insurance the the tendency to do excessive diagnostic testing in order to reduce risk of future malpractice law suits. This could be handled with tort reform.

    This is what happened with auto insurance in many states, the insurance laws were eased and all people who registered a car in the state had to obey….of course, they were given tort options in the process and various levels of coverage. Are the roads any safer?

    This scenario is more than a tax, it is social engineering at its least and enslavement at its worst.

  12. Ron Russell says:

    They guys just can’t seem to decide what they want to do—what a complete mess.

  13. Carlos says:

    The donk bills are so obviously racist no one cares to comment on that. If we on the right do we’re called racist (projection), and anyone on the left is either so oblivious to the effect the bills will have on the poor (mostly people of color) or so egocentric they don’t care what the unintended consequences are that they are willing to sacrifice what health care the poor have already to the almighty alter of the almighty (duh)one.

    At least back before the Civil War the slaves knew who the masters were. Now they are all Chicken Georges praising the massa, hoping for just a little more favor from the oppressor. And now, also, the slaves will include what used to be a viable middle class.

    And I still have yet to see one line in any of the donk bills addressing the real problems of runaway costs of health care.

  14. Leo Roberts says:

    Health care is a big issue…no question about it. But it’s just one of the major gaffs on the list. When are our Senators/Representatives/Congressmen/women going to wake up and smell the roses? If they had to deal with even half the major issues confronting the average American family today, they would be much more likely to be more aggressive in their dealings with the incompetence that appears to be enveloping our nations capitol and those who have been placed in positions of leadership only to have forgotten who put them there.
    Will they accept the same health care they force upon us?
    Will they start paying into Social Security…will they quit accepting automatic pay raises for work they aren’t doing in the first place? Will they quit allowing their
    ther President to put irresponsible men/women into these fabricated “czar” positions? and on and on. Will they suggest he quit putting tax violaters/evaders into positions that mandate tax laws they violate themselves?
    Enough…you get my drift. God Bless America..none of our leaders want to. Respectfully, Leo Roberts

  15. Carlos says:

    Unfortunately, Leo, the “leaders” in D.C. are (for the most part) all too aware of what they are doing, and it’s all to their liking. Does Duh-1 give a rat’s patootie that Geithner (and seemingly half the rest of his appointees) are tax thieves? Of course not!

    Will they start paying into SSI? Taking the same insurance they give us and not a Lambourghini model? Following the same laws as they impose on the rest of us? Not in 217 years of constitutional rule so far, and the prospects don’t look good for that to change, either.

    And as far as getting control of the “czars” goes, that’ll happen when congresscritters of both parties grow some and challenge the ability of a president to appoint in violation of the Constitution. Not likely while the donks control both houses and the presidency, and not likely when the Republicans return to control.

    The question now is, if the Republicans can take control of Congress and the presidency by 1213, can they reverse the damage those cursed evildoers in power will have done by then? Pretty big “if’s”, and I wouldn’t hold my breath, given the recent history of the Republicans in control. The one glimmer of hope I see is if a TRUE conservative is elected as president and he/she is given a sufficient mandate the rest of the party will follow, kinda like Reagan did.

  16. TWoPolitics says:

    Maybe Obama needs to rethink closing Gitmo. He would have a place to put all of those terrible health care evaders.

  17. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I tend to believe this will not pass judicial review. Congress does not have the power to mandate the purchase of health care insurance. The authority simply does not exist. The commerce clause does not cover this sort of government expansion.

  18. Capn0ok says:

    Your choice now is to take whatever insurance your employer sticks you with or go out of pocket. What is the difference between a private company that takes your money and a government? I look at my check stub and health insurance takes a bigger bite than all other taxes combined. And they still make me wait, deny coverage, and generally subject me to every horror I’ve ever heard about socialized medicine. If you like your insurance, you’ve just never filed for anything serious.

  19. Carlos says:

    Zelsdorf, since when does the judiciary give a rat’s patootie about what’s really in the Constitution? They started shredding it long before FDR came along – he just increased the shred rate.

    And if you think the SCOTUS will strike it down, think again. The commerce clause interpretations are nearly as sacred to the judiciary as Roe v. Wade. Stare decisis and all.