NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 10, 2009

Failure to buy health insurance in the just-passed health care bill could get you five years in jail with a $250,000 fine.  How can violating a law that's unconstitutional be a felony, asks Investor's Business Daily (IBD)?

The passage last Saturday night of the House health care measure by a fragile 220-215 margin may well prove to be a Pyrrhic victory.  In polls, townhall meetings and tea parties, Americans have shown they don't want a "reform" that costs a staggering $1.2 trillion yet fails to meet the left's desire of insuring all the uninsured.  And they certainly don't want a bill that threatens them with incarceration if they don't comply, says IBD.

  • This monstrosity would raise insurance premiums and taxes to prohibitive levels and add unconscionably to the national debt.
  • It will force physicians to leave the medical profession in droves, exacerbating an already perilous doctor shortage; this and so-called cost controls will lead to rationing.
  • The mechanisms for deciding who gets what, if any, care -- and even what care will be available -- are already in place; some, like a cost-effectiveness board, slipped into the failed stimulus bill.
  • Under sections 7201 and 7203 of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill, Americans who don't maintain acceptable health insurance coverage and who choose not to pay a fine/tax of up to 2.5 percent of income are subject to fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

As Dave Camp (R-Mich.), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, observed, "This is the ultimate example of the Democrats' command-and-control style of governing -- buy what we tell you or go to jail."

Evading the income tax is punishable by jail time.  But the income tax required a constitutional amendment; it was not imposed by judicial fiat, notes IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Warden Pelosi," Investor's Business Daily, November 10, 2009.

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