Wednesday, October 30, 2013

LDS Idaho House Candidate Greg Collett Explains Why He Accepts Medicaid For His Kids Despite Refusal To Sign Up For Obamacare

Greg Colett, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who's a Republican candidate for Position A, District 11 of the Idaho State House, has 10 children in his family. While two of them are biological children, the other eight are adopted, which means he and his wife are providing a stable home environment to eight children who might otherwise be endlessly shuttled through the foster care system at additional public expense. One of the adoptions was arranged through LDS Family Services. To further reduce the expense of his family to taxpayers, he and his wife have chosen to homeschool them all, which means the estimated $60,824 which would ordinarily be spent to educate his 10 kids in the public schools per year can be diverted to educating public school students.

Yet Colett has come under fire, mostly from the progressive left but also from some libertarian sources on the right, because he publicly announced he would not sign his family up for Obamacare, citing philosophical opposition as well as the fact that it would be cheaper for him to pay the fine. Yet he's signed up all of his children for Medicaid. The Idaho Statesman, in one of their provocative headlines, claims he "hates government". NBC News published a slanted article about Colett entitled "Health care holdouts: Uninsured but resisting". He's been excoriated on left-wing websites including Gawker, BuzzFlash, Daily Kos and Americans Against the Tea Party, and online comments have labeled Collett a hypocrite, moron, mentally unstable, immoral and unethical, along with other frequently-profane epithets.

Greg Colett is fighting back. In a lengthy response on his official campaign website, he states that he does not hate government in principle, but only "evil government". His issue is that 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. He addresses the four main accusations that have been thrown at him, to wit: (1) how dare he has a large family, (2) how dare he homeschools his kids, (3) how dare he not carry health insurance for himself, and (4) how dare he has his kids on Medicaid. He explains that when he became an independent software developer, the health plans available to him at the time were simply not affordable, given his family situation. He says he mitigates their risk as well as reduce their costs as much as possible, and finds that when he pays cash, he frequently gets discounts because it is so much more expensive for providers to bill through insurance. But what's most important is Colett's explanation as to why he has his kids on Medicaid (after the jump):

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.

Eligibility for aid programs is based upon meeting needs criteria, not upon political beliefs. Even if one does not believe in Obamacare, it is not illegal to apply for other aid programs for which one may be eligible. It is not hypocritical to want to change a system and possibly eliminate benefits one derives from the system if one is willing to apply those changes to one's self as well. Greg Colett is not only willing to accept the changes he advocates, but is consistent in his opposition to excessive bureaucracy across the board. On Approaching Justice, Blake writes, "Jesus Christ taught that we are all beggars. We depend upon Him for our substance and our riches. As a Latter-day Saint, if we seek to emulate Christ, why should we care who is asking for help and why they are asking for it? All that matters is that help is given. The true hypocrisy lies in those who espouse to believe in a compassionate and loving God, yet are quick to judge those who seek His compassion and love".

1 comment:

Ben L. Kemer said...

I think a lot of people need to realize this: what better person to make an appeal to change a law than one who has lived under it? Or at least one who makes an honest appeal as opposed to lashes out. I think appeals appear more sensible when coming from someone who obeys the law and asks for it to be changed, and regards disobedience as a last resort.