For posterity, I preserve here my summary of why the individual mandate (perhaps the most contentious feature of the Affordable Care Act) is not a slap in the face to Liberty or Freedom.  This was the inciting fartbook comment.  Oh, and yes, I’m on that shit again.  Whatever.

Forcing people to purchase anything, is an encroachment on liberty

BLOOPADOOP (<— REDACTED LOL), that stance is non-viable in this context. It’s comparable to answering “Yes” when the question is “Red or white?”.

The individual mandate is not some socialist conspiracy, nor does it have any relation to personal or social freedom. Every modern country implements some version of the individual mandate because at some point every citizen is going to use the health care system. Unless you’re going to argue that hospitals should reject life-saving treatment at the ER because they cannot immediately determine the financial or insurance status of a patient, then those people need to have insurance if health-care providers want to have any hope of receiving compensation for the treatment they provide.

The individual mandate solves several problems. One, it prevents people from signing up for insurance right when they get sick. Insurance companies were able to reject people with pre-existing conditions because of this – which is ridiculous in its own right. Like other forms of insurance, health insurance is only financially viable if individuals are paying into it over the long-term.

Two, it guarantees basic services. Currently, ERs are inundated with patients that do not have insurance. Consider a very common scenario, especially among the economically disadvantaged: someone with diabetes enters diabetic shock and is rushed to the ER. Treatment at the ER is more expensive by a factor of 10 or more, and there is no guarantee that the diabetic won’t return to the ER next week. Worse still, this patient does not have insurance and has no chance of paying even a fraction of the $2k+ bill (and that’s a moderate estimate) that was racked up with each visit.

Which brings us to three: lower costs for health care. Preventative care is drastically cheaper here – regular visits with a primary care physician, testing supplies, insulin – all of which are easily available and covered partially or fully by almost any insurance plan. Everyone in the system benefits by this person having insurance – the hospital isn’t providing services for free which means it doesn’t have to charge other patients more to make up for the loss, plus the patient is healthier (uses services less frequently) and their personal burden of hospital bills is greatly lessened.

I understand that you don’t want to pay for other people’s health care. The reality is, however, that you already are – check out what your insurance company paid for your last visit, or maybe you notice your premiums keep going up while no extra service is being provided. The individual mandate is a recognition of the simple fact that everyone must take responsibility for their past, current, and future use of our health care systems.