The debate over abortion being covered under healthcare reform brought to mind the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. The act required states to legislate the age of 21 years as a minimum age for purchasing and publicly possessing alcoholic beverages. If a state did not enforce the minimum age, the state would be subjected to a ten percent decrease in its annual federal highway funds.
While it wasn’t called prohibition for citizens under the age of 21, for all intents and purposes it was prohibition. When it came to equal rights for those 18 – 20 vs. billions of dollars, billions of dollars won. Rather than go through the trouble of amending the US Constitution (as the 18th amendment did to prohibit alcohol) congress took a shortcut by withholding highway funds for states that didn’t change their laws.
One of the big sticking points on healthcare reform is funding for abortions. The debate is cause for alarm about those “unforeseen” consequences of legislature, because the door opens for a host of social issues to drawn into funding for healthcare.
The objection for funding abortions is based upon moral values and fairness values. Bringing either moral or fairness issues into the debate will be the new political battleground for decades.
Here are some future moral and fairness values for debate. Should people be denied health care coverage or be charged a higher rate for any of the following?
Sexual promiscuity – should others have to pay for the consequences of promiscuity?
Not married –single people live shorter lives so there is probably a correlation to higher health costs.
Sports – football, cheerleading or any sport that could result in an injury costs more.
Smoking, being overweight, unprotected sex, not exercising, and drinking alcohol costs more.
Any action only a few people engage in could easily be added to the list if an unnecessary risk is vilified loudly enough.
None of these items listed would be made illegal; as in the congress didn’t make it illegal for those under 21 to drink alcohol; congress made it so states couldn’t afford to keep it legal. It’s not farfetched to believe an individual’s funding for healthcare could be cut off or be forced to pay more for each category they fall into. Of course you’ll still be free to pursue the activities listed above–if you are wealthy enough.
Some of the items on this list might seem silly at the moment. Keep in mind the political pendulum swings back and forth. Four or eight years from now, I can foresee a campaign speech calling for health insurance tax for bars because alcohol is a health risk and driving home from a bar puts others’ health at risk. Bars also promote the spread of STDs, so it only makes sense to tax them for enabling sex. The bar tax would be followed by the sporting arena tax….and on and on.
We could all turn into our neighbor’s unnecessary health insurance risk. Granted there are a few people who take no risks or have any vices and will benefit from this, but I’ll bet they aren’t much fun to be around.
Enjoy high-heeled shoes while you can because I’m tired of paying for your dangerous lifestyle.