Try this though experiment.  You decide free markets are the best way to handle resources in you polite society.  The majority of citizens agree so it is implemented.  Now the City runs on the free market principle.  Each service is a revenue center and must justify its existence.  City utilities are booming.  Everyone wants water in their houses and the sewage and garbage taken away.  However, they do spend a bit to make sure they are your choice since there are some newcomers, so rates increase.  Two of the competitors make the case that competition is good and o they are allowed to put in their own pipes since the competitors don’t want to share resources. The library just cannot compete with the bookstores, so they sell out.  City parks now have fences and gates to collect fees as you enter.   The Streets near affluent neighbor hoods are very well kept, but those near less affluent never get repaired. It gets pretty ugly. 

The Fire and Police Department have it the toughest.  Collecting fees at the time of the call is tough since few people seem to have access to their wallets in a crisis.  Asking for payment before apprehending burglars and muggers is awkward.  So it is decided to allow citizens to subscribe to these services.  No one is forced to, however, when you call for service you have to provide your identifier or pay for services.  You can always be billed, however, should you not be able to meet your obligation, you can be sold into servitude until your debt is paid.  By the numbers, if you live in my city with 51,277 citizens, the cost to operate the Police and Fire is $18,025,718, which is about $352 per person.  For my family of five that would be $1,760.00 a year.  Marketing and profit in a free market system would easily push that number higher.

I could not care less whether the fee for not being covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is called a “tax” or a “penalty” it amounts to the same thing.  You are asking for services only when you need them.  In a society driven sole by the “free markets” the cost to each individual would be staggering.  As a society it is up to each of us to take care of those who cannot and compel those who use the system to at least try to pay something.  Healthcare should be a right and while the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act comes nowhere close to making that a reality, it is at least a step in the right direction.