Many people have come to my website after reading the national NBC News article entitled "Health care holdouts: Uninsured but resisting" written by Maggie Fox. Since the publication of that article, there have been many derivative articles that have sprung up on various websites. In the comments following these articles and on various forums, and in personal messages directed to me via email and phone, I have been labeled a hypocrite and subjected to an overwhelming level of hatred and vitriol.
I am responding to the article, not to explain myself to those who find it acceptable to disparage me, but rather for those who would like to learn the truth and reasoning behind my decisions.
Let me start with a quick summary of my views on the proper role of government. Good government is based on the concept of individual, God-given rights. (Evil forms of government entertain the nonsensical notion of collective rights.) The foundation of government is an equal right to life. Property, or natural resources and their derivatives, is essential to sustain life. Liberty is necessary to acquire and control property. These three things form our basic rights. We also have an inherent right to secure these fundamental rights, all of which are gifts from God.
Our rights are limited by the rights of others. If we violate the rights of others, we have committed a crime. We hire government to help us secure our rights, which is accomplished by punishing crime. If we assign any power to government that we do not have a right to as an individual, then government becomes tyrannical. In fact, if we support the use of government to do anything that would be considered a crime if we were to do it individually, we are no more or less than a criminal at heart.
Government is force, and using government to force men to do good works takes away the agency of man. When government is used to take money from one citizen and give it to another (even for a seemingly good cause) it simply amounts to legal plunder, making government, and those that support it, the criminal. Just as we cannot preemptively interfere in the lives of others, we should not do so using government. We need to understand that a properly limited government must be reactive in nature, not proactive. These principles apply to government at all levels.
Now, with that understanding of the proper role of government, it should be obvious that our current government does not even come close to that ideal. Instead of the republic that our founding fathers envisioned, we instead have degenerated into a shadow oligarchy masquerading as a democracy. The government has morphed into a monstrous labyrinth of rules, regulations, departments, agencies, and programs, invading almost every aspect of our lives. It is in that context, a tyrannical government, that I make my decisions. Let me make it clear, however, that I do not hate government itself; I only despise evil government. I believe that government as an institution is "instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them" (D&C 134:1).
It was not the intent of the NBC News article to explain my position. In fact, both the interview I had with the reporter and the few lines she ended up quoting did not even scratch the surface. I would like to provide some additional information now, focusing on the four main accusations that have been thrown at me: (1) how dare I have a large family, (2) how dare I home school my kids, (3) how dare I not carry health insurance for myself, and (4) how dare I have my kids on Medicaid.
1. Let's start with the attitude towards having a large family. I am an advocate of large families and believe that "children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). I believe that those who hold a disdain for large families will one day have to answer to God for their misguided belief. I have, and will, welcome any and all children that God is willing to bless us with. Earlier in our marriage, since my wife and I had fertility issues, we decided first to become foster parents, and then later became adoptive parents. Of our 10 children, 8 of them are adopted, with 7 of those coming from the foster care system.
Anyone who has raised many children, especially adopted children, would know that the idea of having lots of kids for the purpose of scamming the system is laughable on the very face of it. Also, for those who think they care about how their tax dollars are spent, please consider the reduction in the tax burden assumed by the government for the financial support of those foster children when we adopted them.
2. Next, let's discuss my schooling choices. Nearly everyone whom I have met supports public education; some even going so far as to think it is child abuse to home school children. Despite the overwhelmingly popular sentiment in favor of public schools, I stand adamantly opposed to the public funding of schools. I consider public education to be the grandaddy of all welfare programs. Even more than that, I consider it to be a crucial method of control over a population for tyrants, which is why it is one of the planks of the Communist Manifesto. The purpose of public education has never been about education. With that said, however, the decision to not send my kids to public school is not because I am politically against public education, but rather because I am unwilling to accept the social and moral consequences in my children's lives for doing so.
Again, for those who think they care about how their tax dollars are spent, let's look at a few figures. I don't think I would seeing any derogatory comments coming my way if I chose to send my kids to public school. Nobody would be complaining about how their tax dollars are supporting my kids to the tune of over $6,824 average annual per student spending here in Idaho. On the other hand, all I have heard is complaints about the $2,717 average annual per capita spending for children on Medicaid. You mean I am actually spending less tax dollars on my kids than what people would like me to?! How about we realize that the real issue is not the tax dollars being spent on my children, but rather it is about control-- unless, of course, you would like to discuss ending public funding of education.
3. Now, let me address my current situation of not carrying health insurance. No one is able to mitigate all risk. There are situations that can devastate anyone, regardless of their status in life. If government is properly left out of the equation, individuals are to take responsibility for their own situations. If they cannot meet their obligations, they should turn to their families for support. If families are not able to help, they should go to churches or other charitable organizations for assistance. Government should not be involved, period. We have a God-given responsibility to help the poor and needy, regardless of how they became that way; but forced charity is not charitable in any way. Our current government policy radically alters and destroys the concept of individual responsibility.
When I chose to become an independent software developer, the health plans available to me at the time were simply not affordable, given our situation. I understand the risks involved with that decision, and I choose to accept those risks. For me, knowing that I might have major financial trials in the future due to an accident or critical illness is more acceptable than having major financial trials right now on the premise that I might have a future accident or critical illness. Also, those who think that health care is more expensive to those not on insurance must have never paid cash at the time of service. Every provider we have been to have had cash discounts because it is so much more expensive for them to bill through insurance, and in one case it was as much as 50% less (and yes, we do pay our bills). Health care plans (except for simple catastrophic insurance plans) have certainly been one factor out of many that have driven up the cost of health care.
When it comes to health care for our family, we do try to mitigate our risk as well as reduce our costs. We do not run to the doctor with every sniffle. We use natural remedies when we can. We try to eat as healthy as possible to avoid diet related diseases. I avoid all refined sugars and corn syrup, enriched flour products and other processed foods, GMO products, and foods that have unpronounceable ingredients. We grow a large garden, and we raise our own chickens and cows for fresh eggs and raw dairy products. We have years worth of food storage, we do not live paycheck-to-paycheck, and we have some contingency plans for hard times that may come our way.
The problem that most people seem to have with uninsured individuals is they think that inevitably they will end up having to bail them out with tax dollars because they won't pay their bills. This foolish assumption is even the basis behind the new law. The HealthCare.Gov site states the following: "When someone without health coverage gets urgent—often expensive—medical care but doesn't pay the bill, everyone else ends up paying the price. That's why the health care law requires all people who can afford it to take responsibility for their own health insurance by getting coverage or paying a penalty."
I want to make it very clear that the only reason taxpayers pick up the bill for those that do not pay is strictly due to government mandates to health care providers that violate the proper role of government. Those who are worried about taxpayers picking up the tab should direct their energies into changing public policy rather than attacking individuals who make the decision to not carry insurance. As much as some might want to believe otherwise, it is the public policy that is absolutely wrong, not the decision of the individual. The public has been socialized into accepting many falsehoods over time, leading to our current mess of government policies regarding health, medicine, health care, and insurance.
Those who insist that the taxpayer will end up footing the bill have also just inadvertently lost all standing for arguing the need for a public welfare program for health care. If uninsured individuals just end up getting bailed out by taxpayers, why do we need programs like Medicaid or "Obamacare"?
4. The vast majority of the comments directed towards me try to paint me as a hypocrite for being a limited government advocate and having my kids on Medicaid. My political beliefs are certainly not popular, and in this case, there are many people in the liberty movement who want to take me to task. Again, we are dealing with a situation where people have been socialized into believing a lie.
Let me set the record straight. Yes, I participate in government programs of which I adamantly oppose. Many of them, actually. Am I a hypocrite for participating in programs that I oppose? If it was that simple, and if participation demonstrated support, then of course. But, my reason for participation in government programs often is not directly related to that issue in and of itself, and it certainly does not demonstrate support. For instance, I participate in government programs in order to stay out of the courts, or jail, so that I can take care of my family; other things I do to avoid fines or for other financial reasons; and some are simply because it is the only practical choice. With each situation, I have to evaluate the consequences of participating or not participating.
By way of example, here are a few government programs and policies that I oppose because they do not conform to the proper role of government, yet I participate in them: I am against marriage licenses, but I still got one to get married; I am against the foster care program, but I became a foster parent; I am against property taxes, but I own property and pay the tax; I am against federal ownership of land by the Forest Service and BLM, but I use the land for hiking, backpacking, camping, and fishing; I am against national parks, but I visit them; I am against driver's licenses, vehicle registration, license plates, and mandated liability insurance, but I comply with all of them to drive; I am against public funding of transportation systems, but I still use them; I am against building permits, fees, and inspections, but I get them as needed; I am against public libraries, but my family uses them; I am against public schools, but I occasionally use their facilities; I am against occupational licensing, but I use the services of individuals and companies that comply with those requirements; I am against USDA inspections, but I still use products that carry their label; I am against the Uniform Commercial Code and designated legal business entities such as corporations, but I use the services of such entities and have set up several of them for myself; I am against the current structure of our judicial system and courts, but I still use them; I am against the 17th Amendment, but I still cast my vote for Senators; and the list could go on and on.
The current state of health care delivery in our country is a result of government intrusion that necessitates the concept of health insurance. So, in like manner to the examples given above, I am against Medicaid, but I still use it. I am against government mandated health insurance exchanges, but one day may use it. For those of you who insist that I take my kids off Medicaid, please feel free to get them off by terminating the entire program. I would be the most thrilled if that were to happen since, as with all public welfare programs, it should not exist.
I am not against anyone who utilizes the programs put in place by the government, whether they do so by choice or compulsion. I would never begrudge someone because they take a job with the government in order to provide for themselves even though the job may involve such programs. However, I am against those politicians who put such policies in place or support their continued existence, and I am against those who vote for said politicians for that purpose. I do see a problem with those who vote in such a way as to provide themselves or others with benefits that violate the proper role of government.
It seems that many people (including those in the liberty movement) like to attack those who use welfare programs rather than those who support the welfare programs. This is something that has been ingrained into our social structure. It is as though people want to have the program to say how well they take care of the poor, but woe to anyone who dares use the program! If you support the program in any way, is it not hypocritical to then belittle those who qualify for and use the program? Far too often there is a cry of scamming the system, when in reality the vast majority of those using the programs meet the requirements. In my case, 7 of my 8 adopted children receive Medicaid because they came from the foster care system. My other 3 children qualify based on the financial rules.
Also, for those of you who are worried about me taking more from the system than what I put in, I will just say this: Through the injustice of the judicial system, we were further victimized by the state after being victims of a crime. A lifetime of payments from the state will not even begin to compensate for the life changing consequences of those decrees.
Unfortunately, everyone in this country is the recipient of government largesse. Everyone also pays into the system in one way or another, with most people not even realizing that they do so through hidden taxes and market manipulations. I would encourage everyone to analyze the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) of various government entities to get an idea of the deception. Our government at all levels is engaged in many activities that it should not be. We have a welfare state, a nanny state, and a police state. Through the redistribution of wealth, government engages in legalized plunder-- theft. It goes far beyond that, however. Our government engages in the most serious of offenses-- murder-- through wars of aggression, the abomination of abortion, and other brutalities. I do not agree with the sentiment that it is patriotic to pay taxes when our government carries out such crimes. I do not want to see any of my money going towards such a regime. I do not lose any sleep over anything I do to redirect funds towards me, and I uphold the same standard for all.