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Should we just let Darwin decide?

If only it were that easy. I’m talking about the legislation proposed in Michigan to allow motorcyclists to ride without helmets. If they are dumb enough to do that, fine. Except we end up paying their health care bills, which is most definitely not fine.

The bill’s proponents note that the bill requires helmetless riders to have at least $20,000 in injury coverage. That should just about cover the helicopter ride to the nearest trauma center.
If these folks are that interested in allowing helmetless travel, then require a medical policy with at least a half-million in acute care coverage and five million or so in chronic care coverage – because the people who get severe TBIs incur about $5 million in lifetime medical costs.
And almost 20% of medical costs associated with motorcycle accidents are paid with public funds.
I’ll admit I’m showing my libertarian side, but I fail to see why the taxpayers of Michigan should have to pay for the medical care for people dumb enough to ride motorcycles without helmets. Let them take responsibility for their actions; if they don’t survive on their own nickel, that’s their choice.

5 thoughts on “Should we just let Darwin decide?”

  1. Actually, it’s even worse than that. Readers may find it hard to believe, but, as a member of the Board of Directors for a Michigan auto insurer, I can tell you that, while auto insurance in Michigan is mandatory for private passenger automobiles, it is not for motorcyles. In fact, the state has a law that requires that auto insurers cover the property damage and injury costs that motorcyclists incur upon themselves when they are involved in accidents with auto insurers’ insureds, regardless of fault. We blogged the helmet issue in June, 2006, after Ben Roethlisberger drove his bike into the side of a Chrysler New Yorker. See state statistics and costs, as well as a little opinion.

  2. If they are not going to wear helmets, they should automatically become organ donors.

  3. Should the taxpayers of America have to pay for the medical care of people dumb enough to 1) use cocaine 2) drink to excess 3) smoke cigarettes 4) have multiple teenage pregnancies 5) skydive 6) insert dumb behavior of choice here?
    Why stop at motorcyclists? How about making everyone responsible for their own dumb mistakes, and their own risky behaviors?

  4. “How about making everyone responsible ”
    WhatEVER are you thinking, you ?

  5. Does that include the large number of corporate “citizens” who we regularly bail out of real whoppers while we insure their executives make even more money as they fail? Hmmm… tough one that. But, now those good people do constantly talk about “personal responsibility”, just not theirs. These are the same idiots who talk about a “level playing field” in contracting by Moghul, Inc. and Joe Sixpack–the same ones who cry about the markets solving everythings whilst they collect innumerable subsidies from the government — oh, that’s us. Right. And that in addition to high prices for declining quality and services. Right.
    Save us from those who are enfeebled by the “sanctity of markets”, may they be blessed forever – and tightly regulated.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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