March 24, 2011
Medicare Is Mandatory
Posted by Dave Blount at March 24, 2011 10:41 AM
How nice of the government to thoughtfully confiscate our hard-earned money and use it to buy us subpar healthcare under Medicare. But what if some people would prefer to write off the loot expropriated, and pay again for superior private care? Under rule by liberals, they are out of luck:
[T]he idea of patient choice offends many in government, and in 1993 the Clinton Administration promulgated so-called POMS rules that say seniors who withdraw from Medicare Part A (which covers hospital and outpatient services) must forfeit their Social Security benefits.
For decades we've been told that the money bureaucrats seize for Social Security is just being held for us because we're too irresponsible to plan for the future, and that we're guaranteed to get it back. The pathologically gullible even believe it.
Several senior citizens in 2008 challenged the government, suing to be allowed to opt out of Medicare without losing Social Security. The plaintiffs paid their Medicare taxes through their working lives and are not asking for that money back. They simply want to use their private savings to contract for health services they believe to be superior to a government program that imposes price controls and rations care. They also dutifully contributed to Social Security and — fair enough — prefer to keep those benefits.
As recently as the fall of 2009, [District Court] Judge [Rosemary] Collyer provided support for the plaintiffs. She rejected the Obama Administration's argument that the plaintiffs were lucky to get Medicare and therefore had suffered no "injury" and lacked standing. She noted the Clinton POMS are simply part of a government handbook and never went through a formal rule-making. She also refused the Administration's request to dismiss the suit, noting that "neither the statute nor the regulation specifies that Plaintiffs must withdraw from Social Security and repay retirement benefits in order to withdraw from Medicare."
Yet in a stunning reversal, Judge Collyer last week revisited her decision and dismissed the case. In direct contravention to her prior ruling, the judge said the Medicare statute does — with a little creative reading — contain a requirement that Social Security recipients take government health care. The Medicare statute provides that only individuals who are "entitled" to Social Security are "entitled" to Medicare. Therefore, argues the judge, "The only way to avoid entitlement to Medicare Part A at age 65 is to forego the source of that entitlement, i.e., Social Security Retirement benefits."
This is convoluted enough, but Judge Collyer's truly novel finding comes with her implicit argument that to be "entitled" to a government benefit is to be obligated to accept it.
Let that sink in for a moment. You will eat the government cheese whether you want to or not.
Let this sink in too: the popularity of the dysfunctional Ponzi scheme called Social Security rests in the word security. Supposedly you'll never have to worry in your old age, because Big Government has guaranteed your benefits. But if Big Government changes its mind, what are you going to do about it? In reality, if you are at the mercy of power-drunk bureaucrats and capricious judges, you have no more security than someone shuffling toward the ovens at Auschwitz, hoping that it's really a shower like they said.
Government isn't reason; it is force. If there is one institution that you can absolutely never trust, it is government.
The case indicates, as the plaintiffs' attorney Kent Masterson Brown points out, that as ObamaCare congeals, "Nothing will be optional."
Note that these folks already paid for Medicare. It actually saves the government money if they don't use it.
But for many liberals, the goal isn't saving money or providing choices. The goal is to force all Americans into the same programs to fulfill their egalitarian dreams.
No matter how soft the tyranny, those dreams will be nightmares for anyone capable of grasping the concept of freedom.
On a tip from Varla.