One of most outrageous features of the federal social welfare state is that Uncle Sam doesn't want you to be independent. For instance, if you would prefer to handle your own health care needs as a retiree, rather than subject yourself to the restrictions and irritations of Medicare, you also would have to give up your Social Security benefits. Never mind that you've been taxed your entire lifetime to support both programs.
Now three Washington, D.C. residents are challenging this rule. Explains friend and colleague Quin Hillyer, a columnist for the Washington Examiner:
Did you know that American citizens on Social Security cannot refuse Medicare “benefits” even if they wish to save the government some money by paying for their own medical care?
U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer has been assigned the chance to reverse this profoundly unfair rule, and thus strike a blow for free choice, common sense, and the Constitution.
In what could turn into a landmark case, plaintiffs Brian Hall, Lewis Randall and Norman Rogers are senior citizens who wish to receive the Social Security benefits for which they have spent their adult lifetimes paying. Hall is from Catlett, VA, while Randall is from Freeland, WA, and Rogers lives in Miami, FL.
But all of them have private means of paying for health care, and none of them want the bureaucracy, the governmental intrusions into their privacy, and the rationing of care that they believe are part and parcel of Medicare.
All have paid their Medicare taxes during their whole working lives, but none wants to take advantage of the program's offerings. By opting out, they would save taxpayers' money. They calculate that if just 1 percent of Medicare recipients choose to forgo their “benefits,” the program would save $1.5 billion per year — and $3.4 billion annually by 2017.
At issue are federal rules promulgated in 1993 and in 2002 that prevent individuals from withdrawing from Medicare benefits without also leaving Social Security benefits behind.
Washington, D.C. residents made constitutional history when they sued the city over its ban on firearm ownership. If the American people are lucky, they will see a repeat performance from a court case involving the District.