July 3, 2012

Pelosi says it's a tax on "free riders" and Limbaugh says "This is the party that celebrates free riders."

After the Supreme Court decision accepting the individual mandate provision of Obamacare by regarding the penalty for not buying insurance as a tax, Nancy Pelosi said:
Who is the penalty on? The penalty is on people who have the wherewithal but refuse to buy health insurance, figuring they won't be sick, and if they do, other people will have to cover it. So these free riders, as they were identified by Governor Romney himself, he said, people have the ability to pay and can't expect to be free riders, and I think that he termed it exactly right. These free riders make health insurance for those who are taking responsibility more expensive. Personal responsibility is a principle of our country. Conservatives claim it. Progressives claim it. Liberals claim it. We all claim it.
So she's using the conservative rhetoric of responsibility. People who don't buy insurance and then take advantage of the healthcare system have been free riders, and it's this free-rider behavior that identifies them as the targets of the new tax. Rush says this is a big "attitude shift" for Democrats. When getting the bill passed, the Democrats mostly called upon us to feel sympathy for people who lacked insurance and to want to help them — a typical liberal theme. They rarely portrayed the uninsured as people who deserved our negative judgment for taking and not contributing — which would sound more conservative.

Rush acts irritated to hear the conservative theme coming from Pelosi.

The entire mission of the Democrat Party is to create more and more free riders. Haven't they seen to it that almost half the country doesn't pay income tax, a bunch of free riders?

Isn't their goal to get more and more people dependent on the government?  Didn't they spend millions advertising for more people to take free handouts from the government?  Isn't there a big advertising campaign on right now to expand the scope of food stamps to the food free riders?  Hell's bells, folks, the Democrat Party is the free rider party....
Okay. Hell's bells. Whatever. But if this is one instance of holding people responsible — something you support — why not be pleased about it?
Now all of a sudden, according to Pelosi, if you don't have health insurance, why, you're gaming the system, why, you're probably cheating on food stamps, too.  Look at the 180 they've been forced to do because they cannot admit that this is a tax.  You know, the uninsured are now scum.  Free-riding scum.
Cannot admit that this is a tax? They don't like calling it a tax, but Pelosi's explanation fits the problem she's confronted with, which is: Now that the Supreme Court has called it a tax, what will you say to people who are outraged that middle-class people are getting a big new tax? Her answer is: They deserve to be singled out for taxation, because they are free riders.

ADDED: Now, you might say, Rush is acting irritated because he must go on and on rejecting everything the Democratic Party says, because that's the way to achieve conservative goals. I know that's what he does. But it's not the only way to achieve conservative goals. For example, you could say, it's great that Nancy Pelosi finally acknowledges the problem of free riders. Obamacare was sold on different propaganda, but let's recognize that was propaganda and that the free rider problem is real. Let's insist on looking at those other programs and portraying them in economically realistic terms. Let's not let the Democrats bully us with demands that we care about people, and let's be sophisticated about the incentive structures in these various programs.

ALSO: What Pelosi said was what Romney said in 2006 in Massachusetts and in debate this year:
“Yeah, we said, ‘Look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way,’ ” Mr. Romney said during a January 2008 debate in New Hampshire. “Don’t be free riders and pass the cost of health care on to everybody else.”

In an opinion article in USA Today in 2009, Mr. Romney again used the term “free riders,” writing that a penalty like that in his health care plan “encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical cost on to others.”

What Pelosi said sounded conservative because it is the way the conservative Mitt Romney defended his own plan at the state level. Remember, the Supreme Court case was about whether Congress had an enumerated power that would allow this requirement to buy insurance to be done from the federal level of government.


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garage mahal said...


Thanks for not calling me when you visited Mad. Dink!

Chip S. said...

garage mahal said...

If ObamaCare is a tax, so is RomneyCare.

Oh? Did RomneyCare include a...

-surtax on investment income?
-surtax on medicare taxes?
-increase in the threshold for deductibility of medical expenses?
-tax on "Cadiallac" insurance plans?
-excise tax on medical devices?

Unknown said...

"If ObamaCare is a tax, so is RomneyCare. That's why Romney isn't beating the Fox "huge tax increase!" line."

You have a simple mind.

I'd try to break it down for you again, but I'm not into futile exercises.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I ain't no MD, but I hear they call it the ED (department) now not the ER, since ER is stupid 90's bullshit TV not reality.

Unknown said...


You're trying to insert relevant facts into an idiot's talking point.

It's a waste of time, like expecting monkeys in a zoo to not throw their shit at visitors.

chickelit said...

Thanks for not calling me when you visited Mad. Dink!

@Garage: I am not dual income no kids!

Michael said...

AllieOpp. You think the fatties are health nuts with a metabolism problem? Thought you were a nurse. You think the legions of fatsos arent going to,overwhelm our system? You think being sweet will make them not a problem?

B said...

If ObamaCare is a tax, so is RomneyCare. That's why Romney isn't beating the Fox "huge tax increase!" line.

World of difference between the two. That was just pointed out to you by Chip S., but any honest person could have educated themselves on the differences. So could you if you weren't ignorant. lazy, and had principles and cogent positions rather than talking points to draw on.

The critical difference between the two health care laws was in the strength of the Democrat control of the legislatures involved and the direct culpability of the chief executive involved.

Romney was presented, like Obama, with a bill from a democrat legislature.

Romney signed the Massachusetts bill into law because Massachusetts law offered him no choice. Massachusetts is even more democrat by ratio in Mass than the US congress. A super majority in both house and senate. No maneuver Romney might have attempted could get around that. He made it clear then and still does now that he signed it because of that fact, and not in agreement with the law itself.

Obama was hand in hand with the US House and Senate from the start, did not veto it even when a veto might not have gathered the votes to overturn it, and throughout the process and ever since has maintained that it is the signature accomplishment of his administration.

Romney has admitted that he should have done more to resist the Mass law once it became obvious that it is another drain on the budget of a state already as predatory against it's citizens by tax as any other.

BTW: Except for the first paragraph, this was not directed at garage. There is no earthly reason to offer that lying jackass anything more than mockery.

JackWayne said...

Glad to know that Ann has come out as JAFC.

cubanbob said...

If guess Garage & Co. are calling CJ Roberts a liar. So who to believe, Garage, the Democrats or CJ Roberts?

As I and others have said on this blog, the bill is the quantum physics of taxation, its a tax or a penalty depending on the observer.

Garage part of the reason the bill is so hated is that people are deeply offended by it and how it was passed. Its a solution in want of a problem and an affront to individual liberty.

bagoh20 said...

Risk takers are the heroes of health care. They die before they waste a lot of money. Everybody goes through the expensive dying part. The good ones do it quick, and usually have better time too. That's why I feel strongly that there should be a tax for failing to go hang gliding at least once a month, whether you know how or not. This is all in support of making a big (bloated, unresponsive,) system work. That's the goal right?

B said...

leslyn said...B said...Do you like the mantle of ignorance or do you just wear it when it suits you? The right numbers are easily researched, have been posted on this site numerous times

Put your money where your mouth is, B.

Ignorant? Or just Lazy? Same challenge to you. A moment's thought to come up with a one term google and your ignorance is cured.

I'll even give you a term that would work so you don't hurt your brain.

10% pay taxes

Paul said...

50 percent of the people ARE IN SOME RESPECT ON WELFARE. Are the freeriders?


Now there are some who just cannot work. Paralyzed, maimed, mentally disabled, but 90 percent on welfare sure ain't.

I say TAX THEM. Yea, tax them all and if they are on welfare, then they can't VOTE. Just as felons can't vote.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Chip S said...
Oh? Did RomneyCare include a...

-surtax on investment income?
-surtax on medicare taxes?
-increase in the threshold for deductibility of medical expenses?
-tax on "Cadiallac" insurance plans?
-excise tax on medical devices?

Thank you.

bagoh20 said...

" But there is quite possibly not a single other topic that he can bring up without harming his chances of winning the election."

Oh, there is one: Barack Obama
But I'm sure it won't come up.

ed said...

@ garage

"If ObamaCare is a tax, so is RomneyCare. That's why Romney isn't beating the Fox "huge tax increase!" line."

Bzzzz. Wrong. The difference is because one is -federal- and the other is -state-. There are many restrictions on -federal- powers in the US Constitution while there are far fewer restrictions on -state- powers.

So what Massachusetts can implement as a penalty the -federal- government can only implement as a -tax-.

Try to keep up.

Andy said...

Bzzzz. Wrong. The difference is because one is -federal- and the other is -state-. There are many restrictions on -federal- powers in the US Constitution while there are far fewer restrictions on -state- powers.

So what Massachusetts can implement as a penalty the -federal- government can only implement as a -tax-.

Then why is the Romney campaign agreeing with Obama that the mandate isn't a tax?

Anonymous said...

Well, she made a distinction between people who could afford insurance and didn't pay in, and people who couldn't. Romney, as far as I'm aware, did not make that distinction.

I know libertarian/conservative types who, especially in their younger years, did not have health insurance, but who also did not become a burden on the system by using subsidized healthcare. When they needed it, they self-paid.

IOW, they were self-made, live free or die, people building their own businesses. I don't think they could have afforded health insurance *unless* they gave up their dreams and went corporate, but they did not whine about it, did not become a burden on the system.

Where does Romney or Pelosi categorize them? Probably as free-riders - which isn't strictly true.

damikesc said...

If ObamaCare is a tax, so is RomneyCare. That's why Romney isn't beating the Fox "huge tax increase!" line.

You're aware that the 10th Amendment gave MA the right to pass a bill like Romneycare, right? The tax power was irrelevant.

damikesc said...

Then why is the Romney campaign agreeing with Obama that the mandate isn't a tax?

Why are Obama spokespeople so supportive of Bain when Obama isn't?

ed said...

@ Andy R.

"Then why is the Romney campaign agreeing with Obama that the mandate isn't a tax?"

Because a number of Romney campaign staff are complete idiots. The person in question is the same jackhole who spouted the "Etch-A-Sketch" quote.

This is what it means when you have to rely on Republicans.

It's like the political equivalent of the Special Olympics competed entirely by severe epileptics all concurrently having a Grand Mal.

Dante said...

My God, Ann, I think you must be dense.

First, the US has a catastrophic insurance plan in place already. Go the ER with a life threatening emergency, and they will take care of you. That's the law. I read it costs about $30B a year or so.

Here is the problem. Let's say I'm twenty, and I want life insurance. It's going to be incredibly cheap, because not a lot of twenty year olds die. What Obamacare does is essentially say that those who do not need to pay the outrageous fees must, or donate to the federal government.

Meanwhile, while my insurance rates are going up, they are EXACTLY THE SAME as any other person at my place of work. I'm fifty years old. How does it make sense for a twenty year old to take the money they need to set up their lives, and pay for me, who is quite established. Their risks are lower. Should they not pay less? Should they not have the benefit of paying insurance for what they require?

It's like Social Security. I ran the numbers on it, and found out that a single person maxing out on social security, using their own numbers, will get back less than 50c on the real dollar. No increase over inflation at all, you put in $1.00, you get back $0.50.

Nor is it as if the US doesn't have catastrophic insurance. It exists. Go to the emergency room, legal, illegal, etc., and they will take care of you. That's a whole lot cheaper than Obamacare.

Finally, this ABSURD idea you have that the system will be self regulating due to taxes, is crazy. The REAL money is going to come from increased insurance premiums. How many people look at their electric bill, say "Why am I being charged a top rate of $0.40 per KwH, when those who can't afford it pay $0.17 per KwH (this happens with PG&E in CA). They don't calculate it as a tax.

The essential problem with this whole BS, Ann, is that it creates a two tiered society. Young people are now forced AGAIN to subsidize aging people, those who didn't do the right things. It's regressive. It's charity. It's Democrat "Compassion." But given the top 400 people in 2010 paid 17% of their income in Federal taxes, this is once again an example of raiding the middle class for the views of "Compassion" of the Democrats. They didn't say "This is charity, let's force those who can afford to pay, pay," they said "Let's take more money out of our young people's pockets, and, so sorry, if wealth accumulation becomes that much harder. So sorry if inter class mobility is harder."

Please open your eyes a bit to the economics. Where is the money coming from? Young Americans, particularly Young Middle Class Americans. Where is it going? To increase the market for health care services. Who benefits? The ownership class that provides those services.

And frankly, your comment about not supporting the military is another pet peeve of mine. Consider for the moment that EVERYONE pays for the military. It has made possible a wonderful world wide trade system. Who benefits? The ownership class. Who pays? The poor slob whose job is exported overseas to a now stable country with which to procure manufacturing.

Get a clue.

gadfly said...

"Freeriders" is a term that only applies to MassCare (we can't call it RomneyCare any more) because of the folks playing the system by paying the small penalty to avoid premiums until they get sick; then they sign up, get well and drop coverage again. Stats show that the losses incurred by providers who were shortchanged fees has been just under $500 million before and after the system was adopted in 2006. So the Freeriders are still running around the Bay State.

Maybe Ma Warren can get them organized as a biker club riding Indian motorcycles.

Rusty said...

nn Althouse said...
"Because it isn't something to be pleased about. Forcing young healthy people to pay for older people's health care doesn't please me."

It's not about pleasing you. It's about making a big system work, and part of the system is required emergency care without regard to ability to pay and part of it is not excluding people with pre-existing conditions from the insurance market.

You have to make all the parts to this system function together, and you are counting on some of those parts, which will matter to you in the future.

Now you're being charged a tax, and it's a damned small price to pay -- it's not ENOUGH really -- for the right to get medical care later and the right to buy insurance after a pre-existing condition happens. Think of yourself as buying an option to buy something in the future. That's worth a lot, even if you're using none of the services yet.

I challenge you to look at all the moving parts as they operate over time and come up with an alternative that would work.

If you say, let my emerging conditions go untreated. I don't care. I'll just suffer, that's not a good enough answer, because you live in a country where other people will not live like that and will not let that happen. As a democratic majority, we decided that we didn't want that to happen to people.

You live in this democracy, with people who won't accept you lying out in the gutter rotting from cancer.

That's a part of the system that isn't going to change.

So you need to come up with a way to make the whole thing work, not merely say I don't want to spend my money on that now.

This is exactly what taxation is for, keeping people from selectively opting out of the parts of the system they don't like at the moment.

You remind me of the people who don't want to pay taxes to support the military, when they benefit from the military and will be protected by the military whether they like it or not.

This post highlighted the conservative principle of responsibility, which involves decent sophistication and acting like an adult. If you don't like the approach in Obamacare, you need to have an alternative that actually works, not the fantasy attitude that I'm young now and I'm not sick now.

Oh bullshit.
This isn't about and never was about providing healthcare for everybody.
It is about control. It is about limiting choices. For everyone.
You emind me of the lefties that say," We can aford it we're a rich country."
Yeah well. We're a rich country beccuse people are left alone to chose their own futures. We're not a rich country because we can tax ourselves into anything we want. We're- or were a rich country because we don't.
Christ. For somebody so smart you can be dense as hell.

BrianE said...

"If you don't like the approach in Obamacare, you need to have an alternative that actually works." -Ann Althouse

Why do you think Obamacare will work? I think there is plenty of evidence that not only will it not work, it was never intended to "work."

Otherwise, why would they have made the t--penalty so low, almost encouraging individuals to forgo insurance at all, until they need it.

How does that possibly make the market work, since the t---penalty doesn't go to the insurance companies, but the government.

I wonder if any analysis has been done estimating the increase in premiums if say 10% fewer people purchase health insurance due to the incentive by companies to forgo it.

Remember within 20 years of the passage of Medicare, the actual costs vs the proponents estimated costs were off by a factor of 10.

Why should we assume that the actual costs of this program won't be many times higher than the estimates?

This is also going to be a drain on the economy at a time when its not certain we're out of the recession/depression we're still in/just recovering from?

Your statement seems rather pollyannish for someone who seems to be skeptical about so many other things.

Anonymous said...

Michael, fatties as you call them do have a metabolism issue, it's called Metabolic Syndrome. You won't find one obese person, even children who are not in some stage of this disorder.

Read Gary Taubes book, Why We Get Fat and What We Can Do About It. The key is to educate doctors and dieticians and patients, not blame them for being metabolically disordered.

It's near to impossible to lose weight and keep it off by following standard low calorie diets. Read the book, or at least the reviews.

Dante said...

""If you don't like the approach in Obamacare, you need to have an alternative that actually works." -Ann Althouse"

I hope you said this, Ann Althouse, because it's the big question of the day, "What Works".

But first you have to define "Works"

If "works" means that Steve Jobs has the same rights to a liver as the alcoholic bum in the streets, well, we have a different definition of "works."

If "works" means health care costs are rising, I say look to competition. There are a lot of possibilities, including outsourcing.

If "works" means some compassionate view, whatever that means, I say "Define compassion." And don't leave it up to the largest monopoly in the world to do it, the federal government, because what "Works" to them can have a very tenuous relationship to what is in the interests of the people.

You've shown your hand, Ann. You Like this law. Why don't you come clean and tell us why, and stop pretending you are on some fence.

Tell us why. And stop the lie.

Michael said...

Allie. I have read the book(s). Fatties eat too much.

Alex said...

Michael - you don't know what you're talking about. For thin people, no matter how much they eat they will never become obese because they aren't born with metabolic syndrome. You should read "Good Calories, Bad Calories", unless you're one of these know-it-alls without actually knowing anything.

Unknown said...

The real free rider problem is the poor showing up at the ER knowing that its free.

A friend works at a big inner city hospital. One day she was doing some thing in the ER waiting room. She saw an 11 year old inner city kid who had scraped nose sitting with his mom. My friend remarked that his nose was already scabbing over, why would he want to sit and wait for medical treatment. The boy stonily contradicted her and said that his nose was bleeding. No input from the mom.

Obviously, most of us had mothers who knew how to clean a scraped nose and put on a bandaid. The cost and hassle of going to an ER room, NOT TO mention self reliance would never let our parents rely on a 400 dollar visit to an ER for a BANDAID!!!

Repeat for illegals, etc.

Some ability to assess appropriate fees by hospitals is part of the answer. Perhaps inner city hospitals could have a 'first aid class colocated with their billing department?

Gary Rosen said...

"Cedar, I'm afraid you missed the point."

Of course - the only point C-fudd has ever made is the one at the top of his pinhead. Had to laugh when he talked about working for a "startup in Cali". Was it as a janitor, or night watchman? Hopefully no one here is under the mistaken impression he actually knows anything about the healthcare system.

Manty Five said...

You see, it's very simple to understand when you realize that Pelosi and Rush do not have the same definition of "free rider".

Note how she specifically says "on people who have the wherewithal..."

In her world, you can't be a free rider unless you work for a living. A free rider is someone who doesn't pay enough of their wages to be redistributed to her liking.

To Rush, a free rider is a person who gets their way payed for them by someone else.

I submit that one of these definitions is an abomination against the english language.

jimspice said...

The term "free rider" originates and has a specific meaning in rational choice theory. You guys should look into it.

Manty Five said...

My comment was intended to express how those two people were using that term, or mis-using as the case may be.

Michael said...

Alex and Allie. Ah, I forgot that the metabolic syndrome was a new thing thus creating a population of fatties all at once and sparing the residents of most other countries on the globe. How odd that the syndrome affects only dull witted and foolish and defenseless Americans.

Fatties. Eat. Too. Much.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

The bottom line is, liberals do not want to pay for their own health care. I know liberals who have plenty of money, but they would rather spend it on vacations than on health care. So, the tax payer must do it.

grackle said...

… let's recognize that was propaganda and that the free rider problem is real.

Going to emergency rooms to get free emergency treatment qualifies as free riding for sure. But I'll bet it costs the taxpayers a lot less than the government taking over the entire health system. I would be more than willing to allow free emergency treatment at emergency rooms if we could make Obamacare go away.

city said...

thanks for sharing.

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