WOOTEN COLUMN: An individual mandate we need
You have the right to remain without health insurance.
At least that’s the contention of a lawsuit filed by 26 states, including ours, against the supremely unaffordable Affordable Care Act, which includes a federal “individual mandate” requiring every American to have health insurance.
After the three days of oral arguments on that case concluded Wednesday, most experts concluded that the nation’s highest court is highly likely to strike down that mandate. Some analysts even predicted that the justices will invalidate the entire bill.
Good. We’ll never stop our nation’s accelerating slide toward fiscal ruin unless we start just saying no to costly Nanny State intrusions.
But while we shouldn’t extend Washington’s already excessive reach by federally forcing Americans to buy health insurance, the states — Massachusetts comes to mind — apparently retain that legal prerogative.
And there is one “individual mandate” urgently needed to serve the common good.
Obamacare’s preposterous promises of delivering financial savings with what amounts to “Medicare for all” is debunked by that entitlement system’s grim bottom-line prognosis. Yet here’s a forced purchase that would profit Americans not just financially but informatively, not just individually but collectively:
Require each American family to purchase a subscription to a daily newspaper.
Sure, the Constitution doesn’t permit Obamacare’s “individual mandate.” However, Founding Father Thomas Jefferson wisely observed: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Regardless of the insurance mandate’s fate, we’re stuck with a large government. So we need newspapers, too. And legally binding the increasingly ill-informed masses to the enlightenments provided by newspapers could be just the financial shot in the arm our industry needs.
The fair and balanced mix of news, commentary, sports, book reviews, comics, obituaries, recipes and other stuff in newspapers, including this one, is an indispensable asset. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, Whig or Bull Mooser, you simply can’t get a sufficient range of self-governing information about our democratic republic without newspapers.
For instance, in today’s Post and Courier we deliver chilling revelations about a local “cold case” of murder — and full Cooper River Bridge Run results. Also today, “Mr. Mike” Mooneyham’s popular rasslin’ column sets the stage for tonight’s Wrestlemania XXVIII showdown between the Rock and John Cena in Miami.
Early this year, our vaunted editorial influence was re-confirmed when our endorsement of Mitt Romney in the S.C. Republican primary vaulted him to victory in Charleston County.
OK, so he lost 43 of the state’s 46 counties as Newt Gingrich beat him by 12 percentage points in South Carolina. But the good news is that Charleston County backed the eventual GOP nominee.
And the best news for those mistakenly worried about our product’s price is that many papers, including this one, give you coupons with savings that can more than cover the cost of a subscription.
For instance, most editions of today’s Post and Courier pack coupons for rice, wine, laundry and dish detergents, candy bars, medicines, paper towels, eyeglasses, coffee, potato chips, fruit snacks, soups, diapers, frozen vegetables, batteries and Chuck E. Cheese pizzas, drinks and game tokens. Bloodthirsty carnivores can even save money on our coupons for hams, corn dogs, sausage crumbles and chili.
Space limitations preclude a full listing of today’s coupons. Clearly, though, the correct question is not whether you can financially afford to subscribe to this newspaper.
It’s whether you can financially afford not to.
Americans also can’t afford to sink deeper into the morass of ignorance that spreads when they fail to read newspapers.
So celebrate the looming elimination of Obamacare’s “individual mandate” to buy health insurance.
But urge your elected officials — at all levels of government — to implement an innovative individual mandate to buy newspapers.
And happy April Fool’s Day.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.