It's a penalty for those who won't get insurance despite the ability to pay for it or, for those with lower incomes, to get it subsidized or free after 2014.
Basically, the two ways to fix this are (1) deny all care — including emergency care — to all people until they pay or show proof of insurance or (2) penalize/tax people who aggregately cost the system lots of money but who don't cover all of their own costs.
Unfortunately, the first method will lead to widespread death and injury, not only to the uninsured, but also to the insured who are delayed when they seek care until they can "show me your papers!"
I'm all for allowing people to avoid paying the tax and uninsured at the same time, if instead they put up a bond of, say, $100,000, that will be used for their medical care, just in case. But let's stop kidding ourselves that these people are not costing the rest of us loads and loads of money.
|Even if they all looked like this, freeriders wouldn't be worth |
the hundreds of billions of dollars they cost the rest of us.