Comment of the Week: The Stupak Back-and-Forth

capitol_washington_dcIn response to our post “What You Need to Know About the Stupak Amendment,” commenter Kile wrote:

Your article is non-sensical.  You state that women would have to buy a rider for a completely unexpected event, (who plans to have an abortion?) ALL insurance is for unexpected events.  People don’t buy car insurance because they expect to have an accident or have their car stolen.  People don’t buy homeowner’s insurance because the expect to have a house fire or a tornado.  If you drive a car  you may get into an accident, just as if you have sex, you may get pregnant.  The simple solution to all of this is to get the government out of the insurance business all together.  Not only do I not want to pay for other people’s abortions through my taxes, I don’t want to pay for other people doctor visits, broken arms or viagra with my taxes.  Those are things that an individual is responsible for, not the federal government.  If you can’t afford an abortion, DON’T HAVE SEX!

In response to that gem of a conclusion, JM, our new hero, wrote the following:


But in exchange, you have to turn in all your matches, electrical appliances, firewood, your oven, and let’s see, what kind of heating do you have?? Because I’m not going to let my taxes fund the fire department’s trip to your house just because you left the toaster on for too long or whatever. Also, kinda I hope you’re one of those armed-to-the-teeth Republicans or Libertarians because perhaps you should be cut off from law enforcement services as well. You seem like one who could be a bit pugnacious, I don’t want my hard-earned tax dollars to pay to break up your bar brawls. Oh yeah, and sorry man, all 5 branches of the military, Homeland Security and all that, all paid for by taxes and likely another public service that doesn’t directly benefit to you.

You bought insurance though, you should be good.

Your post was written fairly well, where did you go to school? Chances are, even if it was private, it got some taxpayer money via government grant money, perhaps you’ll be paying that back? Oh, and how do you get around? I hope you don’t expect to be using any of those taxpayer-funded roads you’re used to, maybe I don’t want to pay for the stretch of road that leads from your house to your job.

On a basic level, we pay taxes in order to receive services from our government. On another level, maybe one that appeals to you more, our government provides us with services and public benefits so that we can function as an efficient capitalist system and a healthy society.

You may have a problem with a variety of people having non-procreative sex, apparently ranging from fertile women to old men with “issues” but those are really peripheral attention grabbers calculated to manipulate your attention and abuse your passion and intellect. A more effective health care system will mean a better functioning economy, more GDP, etc. etc. (plus, it’s just humane).

I doubt that you would deny a woman who was beaten and raped assistance from the police, would you? What if her arm were broken, should she have to choose between going broke under a mountain of medical expenses or letting it heal however it pleases? What if she were pregnant by her attacker? And what if she were a child or someone that you care for but can’t afford to pay for?

About the expectation thing, that’s called a discount rate, the higher your discount rate, the lower your investment in the unknown future, and the more you consume in the present. If you have a low discount rate, you invest more in your future as you’re more willing to forgo benefits in the present for unknown benefits in the future, in large part because you feel secure enough to do so. Buying insurance is a sign of a low discount rate.

BUT if you can’t make enough money to make ends meet, you have no choice but to have a high discount rate. The phrase, “living hand to mouth” comes to mind, there’s nothing left over beyond basic subsistence to be invested in some cloudy unknown. That’s partly how poor countries end up with pollution issues and it’s how the bulk of uninsured people end up without insurance.

Very few people choose to gamble with their lives and livelihoods if they’re given a choice and what kind of a country are we if we force their hands?


  1. JM, I believe I owe you a drink for that. Booze or not, don’t care. Calcium-fortified orange juice if it suits your fancy. A huge, hearty cheers!

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