"Congress has never crossed the line between regulating what people choose to do and ordering them to do it," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). "The difference between regulating and requiring is liberty."
But Hatch's opposition is ironic, or some would say, politically motivated. The last time Congress debated a health overhaul, when Bill Clinton was president, Hatch and several other senators who now oppose the so-called individual mandate actually supported a bill that would have required it.
But it's actually worse than this. Republicans in the House have voted to basically repeal Medicare and make it a voucher system. Who pays when seniors exercise their "liberty" to eschew health insurance either out of necessity or desire? If the Republicans want to trust liberty-- I mean really trust it-- then they would repeal the EMTALA statutes signed by Reagan that require hospitals and physicians to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay.
Only the most naive don't know how this is supposed to work: The result will be that healthy seniors will get insurance, with the GOP's overlords in the insurance industry taking their prodigious cut, and the sick who cannot afford coverage will just get treated for free in the emergency departments. Win-win for the plutocrats.
The fact is that the Republicans fetish for the language of "liberty" is all bullshit. Their desire for true liberty is as synthetic as Newt's Catholicism, John Ensign's family values and Arnold's marriage.