October 24. 2013 9:15PM

'Penalized': Shaheen’s Obamacare admission


U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen actually led on a controversial issue this week. That event was more surprising than what she actually said: that the Obama administration should extend Obamacare’s open enrollment period because of the healthcare.gov signup disaster. And the reason for her position is more important than the position itself.

New Hampshire’s two members of the U.S. House, Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster, both quickly played “Me Too” and endorsed an extension. “If an individual is unable to purchase health insurance due to technical problems with enrollment, they should not be penalized because of lack of coverage,” Shaheen said. Kuster also used the word “penalized.” Perfect.

Obamacare does not allow Americans to buy any health insurance product they want. It compels us under penalty of law to buy very specific plans. They must include maternity, contraception and pediatric coverage, for instance. That makes no sense for young, single men, male retirees or couples who have surgically rendered themselves incapable of reproduction. But all must pay for that coverage or be, in the word of Shaheen and Kuster, penalized.

They believe that the federal government should tell people what kind of insurance to buy, for how much, and then punish people for not obeying the command. If they believe the federal government should have that kind of power over every American, what else are they willing to force us to do?