woman writing letter

Is Health Insurance of “Monumental Importance”?

To the Editor:

I agree with the spirit of Paul J. Beard’s article “ObamaCare v. the Constitution” [TOS, Summer 2011], but Matt Sissel’s refusal to buy a service (health-care insurance) that “he neither needs nor wants” involves a major flaw. No one, young, middle-aged, or old, can predict when a catastrophic illness will strike. Those in our society who develop cancer, a stroke, or a major heart attack could easily be burdened with a medical bill of $50,000, $100,000, or more. Thus, health-care insurance is of monumental importance. The #1 reason for people filing for bankruptcy in America is that they cannot afford to pay their medical bills.

Rade M. Pejic, M.D.
Michigan City, Indiana

Paul J. Beard II Replies:

Catastrophic health insurance can be an important purchase if one wishes to insure against financial insolvency. But individuals face countless alternatives in life and must make their own decisions with respect to their personal contexts, resources, and goals. The government has no right and no constitutional authority to force anyone to purchase health insurance of any kind—nor to force anyone to bail out those who go bankrupt due to medical expenses. Individuals morally are and legally should be responsible for themselves.

Paul J. Beard II
Sacramento, California

Would the Federal Government Permit States to Implement a Tax Credits Program?

To the Editor:

Although I found Michael A. LaFerrara’s proposal in “Toward a Free Market in Education: School Vouchers or Tax Credits?” to be enticing, the article did not explain how such a tax credit program could be implemented by particular states without first being permitted by the federal tax code. Is there already a provision in the code by which a state might provide its citizens a tax-credit plan such as LaFerrara’s? If this plan does require new federal legislation, then activists need suggestions as to how to approach legislators to get something started toward enacting such legislation—a prospect, I suspect, that is as distant as initiating Dr. Bernstein’s proposal (in “The Educational Bonanza in Privatizing Government Schools,” TOS, Winter 2010–2011) to auction off the public schools.  . . .


1 http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/10facts/index.html.

2 http://www.njea.org/njea-media/pdf/SF_NEASchoolFunding.pdf. See also http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/10facts/edlite-chart.html#2.

3 GAO, http://www.gao.gov/products/T-HEHS-98-46.

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