But we seem to want to be free from that obligation as well. This morning in America’s highest court, freedom seems to be less about the absence of constraint than about the absence of shared responsibility, community, or real concern for those who don’t want anything so much as healthy children, or to be cared for when they are old. Until today, I couldn’t really understand why this case was framed as a discussion of “liberty.” This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms. It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another, freedom from the modern world in which we live. It’s about the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril, to never pick up the phone or eat food that’s been inspected. It’s about the freedom to be left alone. And now we know the court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it’s 1804.
Actually, in addition to there being a sense of community, it’s more about the federal government mandating individuals purchase services from private entities that are beholden to the shareholders’ interests, not my interests. I would not have a problem with this law if it mandated the purchase of a public insurance plan, essentially Medicare for All. But the law doesn’t due to politics and compromise. And because of that, it’s much more about fundamentally changing the individual relationship to the federal government.
This is not about interstate commerce. It’s only interstate because the health insurance companies have merged with one another and restricted our options so much, that the health insurance companies are now nationwide.
The real question is this. What’s the smallest group of people that can come together and effectively cover themselves from financial protection due to medical bills? The answer is 1500. If we could scale back health insurance companies so that they’re not interstate, but intra-neighborhood, or even intra-city, we’d solve many problems including the community issue raised above, but also the interstate issues that have arisen because the health insurance companies are too big to fail.