published Friday, July 6th, 2012

Obamacare inconsistency

Defenders of Obamacare -- yes, they exist -- say its requirement that virtually all Americans buy federal government-approved medical insurance will end the freeloading by some people who could afford insurance but choose to do without and show up in emergency rooms for "free" care when they get sick.

Now, so far as it goes, it is repugnant that some individuals who can afford insurance choose to spend their money in more frivolous ways and let the burden for their care fall on others.

But the answer to that isn't to create a massive boondoggle of a federal program that will balloon budget deficits and penalize the responsible and the irresponsible alike. It is to end the guarantee of "free" medical care to those who could pay their way but don't, and to let them rely on family and friends or on charitable care funded by private organizations. It wouldn't take too many instances of not getting treatment with lots of frills before the freeloaders would realign their spending priorities and buy the insurance they need and can afford.

But while we're on the subject, do you notice a decided inconsistency in the federal government's indignation toward those who take advantage of health care safety nets and those who make unwise use of food stamps? While the Obama administration is happy to denounce health care freeloaders in order to justify Obamacare, it has no qualms about the limitless purchase of health-destroying junk food by people who get food stamps.

You may have read about efforts to curb the kinds of foods that food stamp recipients may buy. Some states are seeking to put the purchase of items such as candy, potato chips and soft drinks off limits. The commonsense idea is that if taxpayers are going to have to pay other people's grocery bills, at least that food should be reasonably healthful and should not promote obesity and generally poor health habits that can last a lifetime.

Yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees food stamps, officially opposes restrictions on junk food purchases by recipients of food stamps. And other critics deem that sort of restriction demeaning. It might stigmatize recipients, we're told.

It's hard to say whether that's true, but even assuming it is, since when is the purpose of federal welfare programs to make recipients so comfortable with the benefits that they have little motivation to pursue self-sufficiency?

And if Washington is desperately concerned about taxpayers subsidizing health care for irresponsible Americans, should it not also stop forcing taxpayers to subsidize bad food choices that saddle us all with increases in the very health care costs it claims to be trying to control?

Is just a little consistency too much to ask?

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EaTn said...

Maybe all the right wingers will be happy when Obamacare is replaced with Romneycare, the Massachusetts health care system that Romney implemented as governor there and which Obamacare mimicked.

July 6, 2012 at 6:34 a.m.
gjuster said...

The right wingers you are talking about don't like Romneycare either - it's one reason I will never live in MA.

July 6, 2012 at 7:51 a.m.
conservative said...

47 million people on food stamps! 47 million and rising! That should boggle the mind.

The states should the ones to decide if they want to provide food to able bodied people at their taxpayer expense. The states are closer to the hand that is out and can better decide if the supplicant can not feed himself. Let the states decide to waste their taxpayer dollar, they can decide to be substitute parents. Let the states cater to the freeloaders.

Feeding the lazy and the sorry in return for their vote is not the proper Constitutional role of the Federal government.

July 6, 2012 at 8:17 a.m.
Easy123 said...

49% of all participants are children (17 or younger), and 49% of them live in single-parent households.

15% of all participants are elderly (age 60 or over).

20% of all participants are non-elderly disabled people.

The average gross monthly income per food stamp household is $731; The average net income is $336.

36% of participants are White, 22% are African-American, 10% are Hispanic, 2% are Asian, 4% are Native American, and 19% are of unknown race or ethnicity.

Show me which ones are the freeloaders, Conservative.

I'm sure Jesus would be really disappointed in you.

July 6, 2012 at 9:17 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Funny how this editor and virtually every conservative who finds the mandate so repulsive leave out one vital bit of information about it: it was originally a conservative concept, proposed by the Heritage Foundation in 1989 as a counter to the more liberal concept of single-payer. Conservatives championed the notion of a mandate at the time because it would keep health insurance in the free market (conservative concept) and at the same time it would force individuals to be more responsible for their own well-being (again, a conservative concept). Virtually all Republicans at the time were singing its praises. So, what changed between now and then? Oh wait...let me guess...O-B-A-M-A is for it now. Simple as that. Anything Obama is for, Republicans are against...even if thery were FOR it in the beginning. That is the master plan of the Republicans for working to alleviate the pain of this insufferable recession: crush Obama, period. Great plan, guys.

You conservatives whining about Obama's stubbornness in not working with Republicans, here is one glaring example of how he tried to reach across the aisle, yet you shot him down from the get-go, saying he's "too extreme," he's "too socialist," he's "not willing to meet Republicans halfway." He was willing to dispense with the concept of single-payer entirely, thinking that surely the Republicans would go along with what was originally a Republican idea. But not only did you conservatives say NO; you said HELL NO! You guys are unbelievable.

A lot of liberals are calling you racist for hating Obama so much, but I think that's too easy a word to throw around. Just plain hypocrites, traitors, knuckle-dragging neanderthals, charlatans, or disgustingly dense ding-bats...any one or even all of those words suits you better.

July 6, 2012 at 9:33 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"Feeding the lazy and the sorry in return for their vote is not the proper Constitutional role of the Federal government." - con-man

It is common knowledge that many people who receive any kind of government assistance still vote Republican. Most of them are too stupid to realize that they keep voting for the very ones who'd just as soon let them die in the streets.

July 6, 2012 at 9:45 a.m.
Leaf said...

One of the reasons people don't always use their food stamps to buy health food, is that health food is much more expensive per calorie than processed sugary and fatty foods. When you're living on the edge it's harder to eat right.

July 6, 2012 at 10:24 a.m.
conservative said...

Food and ____. What is the missing word?

July 6, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Dranks! Ya gotta drank yer dranks. Right conny?

July 6, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
conservative said...

Food and ____. The word clothing very often accompanies the word food. Now if Socialist believes the taxpayer should provide food for 47 million people why don't they advocate providing clothing for these 47 million ?

July 6, 2012 at 1:29 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Keep reaching, Conservative. Maybe you'll pull a valid argument out of your ass at some point.

July 6, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"If they try to regulate our guns, they'll be coming to take them away next."

"If they make the minimum wage $10/hr., why don't they just go ahead and make it $100/hr?"

"If they allow gay marriage, it'll be okay for somebody to marry their dogs and cats next."

"If they provide health insurance and free education for everybody, why don't they wipe their butts while they're at it?"

"If they give the needy food stamps and welfare why don't they clothe 'em too?"

Those are just a small sampling of the nutty and irrational arguments I've heard conservatives come up with in trying to make their case against social safety nets and common sense policies. Most reasonable people know the difference and can easily see what is necessary and fair and what is just silly exaggeration and hyperbole. Except today's teabagging conservatives, of course.

Con-man, why didn't you go ahead and say something like..."and why don't they give 'em Cadillacs and country club memberships, too, while they're at it?" It would have made just as much sense as anything else you conservatives are saying these days.

July 6, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.
conservative said...

Food, clothing and _. Shelter. Those who always want other people's money hide behind helping the poor as the way to acquire just that.

Shelter. If the 47 million are too poor to feed themselves then surely they are too poor to clothe themselves and provide adequate shelter for themselves as well. Do the Socialist feel this is too much to demand for the 47 million now ? Would their hypocrisy be too obvious?

July 6, 2012 at 3:33 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Food, clothing, shelter, and _. A puppy. Everyone needs a puppy too.

You're absolutely mentally compromised. I know toddlers that make more sense than you. Your slippery slope argument is asinine.

July 6, 2012 at 3:42 p.m.
conservative said...

Four months of total fun untill the election. Four months of the Demoncrat freeloader and free rider party denying that they are the freeloader and free rider party.

What a gift from Pelosi!

July 6, 2012 at 6:37 p.m.
Livn4life said...

Let us not bother ourselves with the fact that I could name some families on food stamps who should no longer be allowed to be there. Let's not bother with the truth that all the government handout programs are easily and often abused. Jesus would not be disappointed if persons who could at least make a decent living would be forced to try. No one wants to deny all the statistics of really needy persons listed above. It's the others, and who knows how many are out there who stay and stay and stay on government assistance just because they can. I heard a woman's story not long ago who literally cried the day she had to apply for assistance. Why is that, were all the mean Repubo-Conservatives condemning her? No, she had been reared by the standard that you do your best to provide for yourself, not depend on others. When her husband left, it was devastating. She had no income really to speak of, no education. What did she do? She took the help short term, took part time work while attending school and provided for her children and her. She did the right thing. Many do not and I even know some of them. These are the ones who cause the costs to go up and people to wonder what in the world the government is doing allowing people to abuse the system. The health care fiasco will be no different. The middle class will have to pay for all those folks who can't be penalized, they don't even file income tax. But it sounds good to be billed as getting those rich people. Little secret, they'll pay the Tax/NoTax/Penalty/No Penalty whatever the Leftists call it today and keep good healthcare. This country was not set up to do what they are planning to do.

July 6, 2012 at 6:57 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Please show us all these freeloaders. I dare you. Show us all the "others" that abuse food stamps.

July 6, 2012 at 8:49 p.m.
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