New fake rights distract from real rights being taken away

Finland has become the first nation in the world to declare that broadband internet access is a human right. The world should stand up and applaud! After all, we are living in an information society, and knowledge equals power, right? Finland’s Minister of Communications, Ms Suvi Lindén, says, “From now on a reasonably priced broadband connection will be everyone’s basic right in Finland. This is absolutely one of the Government’s most significant achievements in regional policy and I am proud of it.”
Now that a high speed internet connection is a basic human right (according to Finland), where does that right rank in relation to, say, the right to speak your mind? How about in relation to the right to privacy? Is it a “lesser” right; are they equal?
A few months ago I read that the EU was claiming there is a basic human right to a European vacation. They drew up detailed plans on how to subsidize holidays, saying there was a “right to be tourists.”
Antonio Tajani, EU Commissioner of Enterprise and Industry, continued, “Traveling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life”. [Emphasis mine.] This sounds somewhat like our government claiming there is a human right to health insurance, though it is more accurately an economic good. The point is, all of these “fake rights” are distracting from the very real rights we are losing every day. We should take note that our new “right”to health insurance comes with the unprecedented mandate that Americans must buy insurance or face a stiff penalty.
Your rights as a human being aren’t something that can be invented, like the internet, and they aren’t something that can be bought or sold, like health insurance and vacation packages. Human rights are intangible. The highest ideals of liberty and decency. The right to speak one’s mind without fear of persecution from the government; the right to take the fruit of one’s own labor to his family uninterrupted; the right to be secure of your privacy in your papers and effects, within your home and business. These are the things we are losing while the world is granted the right to internet access.
It is my recommendation that we be wary of politicians suddenly discovering there are new rights that we had somehow missed until now. Instead, we should focus our attention on making sure our government does it’s most basic and important duty – to protect the freedoms of every American, and uphold the Bill of Rights.

we see politicians suddenly realizing we have,

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The health insurance mandate problem

From the Political Calculations blog, “Cavalcade of Risk 102“:

The new law mandates all individuals in the United States to buy health insurance. To enforce that mandate, the law also imposes a penalty tax for non-compliance, which will be enforced by the IRS. However, since the law also requires health insurers to provide immediate coverage even if an individual has a pre-existing condition, an individual could reasonably choose to drop their insurance coverage, pay the much less expensive tax penalty instead, and pocket the difference as savings until they actually might need coverage, with the insurers compelled by law to provide it on demand.

You can go on and use his calculator to figure out how much money you could save, based on your income, your hospitalization risk, and the amount of money you pay for insurance or to the IRS if you lack insurance.
For a typical U.S. family of 3.2 people (the average household family size), making $50,233 (the median household income), paying $13,375 for insurance (the national family average for 2009), the annual tax penalty for not having insurance is $2,085. So here’s the plan:

  • Drop your insurance, saving $13,375 per year.
  • Pay the tax penalty, spending $2,085 per year.
  • Save the $11,290 for a rainy day.

Sure, you’ll be paying routine, out-of-pocket medical expenses. And, odds are a large portion of your health insurance bill is subsidized by your employer (though you may be able to convince him to give you a nice raise in lieu of insurance). But in the end, since you can not be denied coverage for preexisting conditions, you pocket the thousands of dollars saved each year and start paying for insurance only when your medical costs balloon.
Of course, if people did this, it would hurt the health insurance market, which relies on healthy people (who consume less than they pay) subsidizing unhealthy people (who consume more than they pay). Take the healthy people out of the pool, and you’re stuck with rising insurance rates.
Either way, it’s good to know that the new health insurance law will empower you to save more money. Take the good with the bad, I guess.

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Two simple ways to reduce health insurance premiums

A 2009 study by the AHIP Center for Policy and Research, entitled Individual Health Insurance 2009: A Comprehensive Survey of Premiums, Availability, and Benefits (PDF download), reveals a great deal of facts about health insurance premiums throughout the United States.
Going through this report, one can identify two simple but effective steps to reducing the cost of health insurance

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