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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mandates and the Kindness of Strangers

Recently a kind person who I did not recognize rang my doorbell and told me that a police officer seemed to be putting a ticket on my wife's car. This person, who also seems to be quite smart, recalled that the owner of the car lives in our apartment.

The police officer noted that the little square of paper indicating current car insurance had expired. I looked for the new one, then called my wife who was about half an hour away and learned that it was in her purse.

A hassle ? No. The officer said he could check "nel computer".

So I was thinking about health insurance mandates. Rather than hassling people when they file a 1040EZ, why not ask employers to report if their employees are insured alone with the W2. This is also a way to know what pay to garnishee if necessary. One would have to hassle the self employed and just give insurance to the unemployed.

Of course it means that my mandate is an employer mandate. What was so bad about that ? I mean awful compared to financing from general revenues as it is a grossly regressive tax, but at least the 1040EZ would still fit on one page.

I think the appeal of individual mandates to people less compulsively nerdy and honest than John Edwards is that you can claim you are making coverage universal, without actually making coverage universal, then blame the uninsured for their lack of insurance.

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