What's the Problem with the Individual Mandate?

Van Jones: I don't understand how this individual mandate is something that we’ve allowed the Republicans to define as some sort of, quote-unquote, government takeover.  In fact, it’s their idea.  The progressives were saying we want single-payer.  Myself, I would say why do you need insurance companies for health care at all.  Insurance is what you buy when you don't know if something bad is going to happen.  Maybe I’ll crash my car.  Maybe I won't.  I don't know.  So I’m going to get car insurance just in case.  Everybody’s going to get sick and die, so you know every single person’s going to need health insurance.  That's not something you can provide insurance for, that's called a service.

So my view, single-payer.  The Republicans always said, no, that's too much government.  So we came back and said, okay, no single-payer.  How about a public option?  So you’d a public program, everybody could join Medicare or compete with the private companies, too much government.  We want individual responsibility.  So we said, fine, you win.  We’ll do it your way, individual mandate.  And then, they say that is a socialist government takeover.  Well, hold on a second now.  You’re now a part of the pro-moocher caucus?  You’re saying it’s okay for people to just dive bomb their way into the emergency room?  Yeah, don't worry about it.  Don't get any insurance.  The government will pay for it.  Now, you're like the pro-freeloader party?

This Republican Party, from my point of view, has taken the posture that any idea, even their own ideas, if they’re championed by this president, they will oppose.  And I think that discredits them.  It’s like chasing a bunny on the old dog track.  They have a mechanical bunny.  If you’ve ever been to a dog track, I’m from Tennessee, if you ever go to Memphis, they have a dog track and they have a mechanical bunny.  And they open the gates and the dogs just go and try and chase that mechanical bunny.  And I think those dogs probably think someday they’re going to catch that bunny.  They’re never going to catch that bunny because the bunny keeps moving.

You’re trying to chase the right to try to convince them to agree with you.  They will run away from their own ideas if they think a Democrat embraces them.  It was a Republican idea to have cap and trade, a market-based, business-friendly solution for carbon and climate problems.  That was the Heritage Foundation that came up with cap and trade.  We were saying carbon tax.  To chase them, we moved to cap and trade and they moved on to don't do anything.  Climate change isn't even real.

On health care, it was their idea to have an individual mandate and personal responsibility and don't have a big government single-payer system.  We moved from single-payer through public option to individual mandate trying to catch them and now they say that the individual mandate is socialism.  You will never catch this bunny.  You will never, so what you need to do is stand for what you believe in and bring a majority around your own ideas and govern.  And it’s the biggest fallacy on the part of liberals is that that little hound dog running around that track is ever going to catch that bunny and that we will ever be able to compromise enough to appease the right wing in this country so they’ll actually govern with us in a responsible way. They have to be defeated at the ballot box by a stable governing majority that can implement the changes that we need in this country, whether they want to participate or not.

Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton

 

Insurance is what you buy when you don't know if something bad is going to happen. Maybe I’ll crash my car. Maybe I won't. I don't know. So I’m going to get car insurance just in case. Everybody’s going to get sick and die, so you know every single person’s going to need health insurance. That's not something you can provide insurance for, that's called a service.

Related Articles

4 new personality types revealed by huge study

It may be simpler than we thought.

(Anna Palm de Rosa, Public Domain)
Surprising Science
  • An analysis of a massive amount of data reveals four new personality types.
  • The study is the first to take self-reporting out of the equation.
  • The four new types are "average," "reserved," "self-centered," and "role model".
Keep reading Show less

Why the “slow metabolism” is a myth

Despite its prominence in our collective imagination, variations in metabolism play a minor role in obesity.

Photo: Science Photo Library
Surprising Science
  • Vox senior health correspondent Julia Belluz spent a day inside of a metabolic chamber at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.
  • Her 90 minutes on stationary cycle only burned 405 calories, just 17% of the day's total calories.
  • Resting metabolism uses up the bulk of the body's energy.
Keep reading Show less

Are people with more self-discipline happier?

Why self-control makes your life better, and how to get more of it.

Buddhist monks of all nations mediate in Thailand. Monks are well known for their self-discipline and restrictive lifestyle. Is it possible that this leads them to happiness?
(Photo by Geem Drake/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • Research demonstrates that people with higher levels of self-control are happier over both the short and long run.
  • Higher levels of self-control are correlated with educational, occupational, and social success.
  • It was found that the people with the greatest levels of self-control avoid temptation rather than resist it at every turn.
Keep reading Show less