Steven Hyder Thinks He Has a Constitutional Right to Be a Freeloader (No Libertarians in the Emergency Room Watch)
Jonathan Cohn goes to interview him:
Repealing Health Care Reform: How It Could Happen And What It Would Mean: Steven Hyder, 40, runs his own legal practice out of a shared office in downtown Monroe, Michigan, a blue-collar town south of Detroit. Mostly he handles relatively routine, low-profile work: bankruptcies, personal injury claims, that sort of thing. But recently, he became part of a much bigger case. He’s a named plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The focus of Hyder’s suit, which was organized and written by a conservative legal organization, is the “individual mandate”—the requirement that everybody obtain health insurance or pay a fee to the government. The case is one of several moving through the federal judiciary. Sometime in the next few years, at least one of them is likely to end up before the Supreme Court.
A few weeks ago, I spoke with Hyder at his office, in order to learn more about why he had brought this case. He said his motive was straightforward. He’s opted not to carry health insurance because he doesn’t think the benefits justify the price, and he doesn’t want the government forcing him to do otherwise. Okay, I asked, but what if he gets sick and needs hospitalization? How will he afford those bills? It was a distinct possibility, he agreed, patting his waist and noting that he was a little overweight. But those potential bills would be problems for him and his hospital, he suggested, not society as a whole.
When I told him that I disagreed—that his decision to forgo health insurance meant other people would be paying his bills, via higher taxes and insurance premiums—he politely and respectfully took issue with my analysis. The discussion went back and forth for a while, but soon it became apparent that our differences went beyond the finer points of health care policy, to our most basic understanding of the rights and obligations of citizenship. “It’s a complete intrusion into my business and into my private life,” he told me. “I think it’s one big step towards a socialist society and I’m purely capitalist. I believe in supply-side economics and freedom”...
Note that Hyder doesn't say that if he can't pay his hospital bills cash he should die in the gutter in front of the hospital.