People Declined Social Security Benefits - for no good reason at all
Imagine you're one of the people declined Social Security benefits, just because you'd prefer not to be included in the Medicare program. That's a clear violation of what we have come to know in America as freedom of choice - one of our core values.
The libertarian minded among us are in favor of free choice, but is it true that you cannot choose to not participate in Medicare?
It's true. If you opt out of Medicare Part A, you'll automatically lose your Social Security benefits.
Why you ask? The answer is simple. This is our government.
It seems that back in 1993 and 2002 the Social Security Administration changed its rules (which have the effect of law) without publishing the rule making in the Federal Register to allow for public comment.
Now, if there is one thing I learned during my few years working for a federal regulatory agency, it's that you just can't make a rule; you have to publish it in the Federal Register and allow for a public comment period. You know, so folks can raise objections or applaud the action as they see appropriate.
So, here is the potential to have people declined Social Security benefits, and it's all because of an illegal rule made up by our "leaders" in Washington who think you have to accept the Medicare program for your health care.
I remember not too long ago talking with my mother who was not at all satisfied with how Medicare was handling one of her claims. I simply told her to go somewhere else and bypass Medicare, and she told me that she couldn't do that. It wasn't a "hill to die on" for me so I just let the comment pass without much notice.
And, now here we are with people declined Social Security benefits for that very same reason - they decided that Medicare wasn't for them. And, it's in the law!
That doesn't bode well for national health care, now does it? Could it be just another example of a coercive and unjust government? Well, I'm not the only one who thinks so. Let's meet the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the government to get this problem fixed.
They don't want people declined Social Security benefits because of their desire to make free choices.
The plaintiffs in this case are Brian Hall, Lewis Randall, and Norman Rogers. These individuals are able to provide for their own health care and do not want to participate in Medicare. They believe that Medicare:
- is inferior to private insurance/services
- has no concern for patient privacy
- is rationed care because it's a government funded program
The lawsuit is necessary because the Social Security Administration rules do not allow an individual to opt out of Medicare, Part A (hospital insurance).
Here is language in the rules that is particularly troubling:
"...a claimant who is entitled to [Social Security] benefits cannot withdraw...[from Medicare, Part A] coverage only since entitlement to...[Medicare, Part A] is based on entitlement to monthly [Social Security] benefits..."
Even more troubling is that the agency rules are contrary to the Medicare and Social Security Acts. This makes them unlawful. In addition, the rules represent an act of "legislating" which only Congress may constitutionally do. It all sounds like trouble to me.
I think Ed Crane, President and Founder of the Cato Institute said it very well: "You'd think that in the land of the free, paying for our own health care ought to be legal."
With that kind of attitude, I don't think Ed has a chance in hell of ever working for the federal government. And, with that, both he and the federal government are probably breathing a sigh of relief.
Done with People Declined Social Security Benefits -- back to Abuse of Power