I published a column over the weekend about the fact that financially penalizing people for not buying health insurance is already the core of the American health insurance system. It's just that instead of saying "you pay a fine if you ask your employer to give you higher wages instead of subsidizing your insurance premiums," we say that "if your employer subsidizes your insurance premiums instead of paying you higher wages, you don't need to pay taxes on that." But the impact on your pocketbook and the system as a whole is identical.
It turns getting insurance into a smart decision even for customers for whom it's not an actuarially savvy decision, and the presence of those customers keeps the entire risk pool viable. As a legal matter, the slight difference in how it's organized may be crucially important, but as an economic matter these are very similar policies, and if you're interested in the broad implications for human liberty of penalizing people for not getting insurance, you have a much bigger battle on your hands than the war on Obamacare.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.