The conservative blogosphere didn't show much compassion for the family.
Krugman make's a useful comparison to the belief system that undergirds this situation and healthcare.
Me? I'm torn on the specific case, to be honest. No, the family didn't pay the fee and they made that choice, but I think the firemen should have fought the fire because that's their job. I don't know if I could have stood by and watched a family's house burn because they didn't pay $75. I understand their superiors might not have allowed action. It seems petty to me. Bill the family for goodness sake.
What if you contested your electric bill and didn't pay on time? Should the electric company be allowed to turn out the lights the day the money is late?
Course there are those that will say it was the homeowner's choice to not pay the fee and he must live with that choice. To me, that's a cold view of the world. I am left to ponder if people out there truly believe they have no responsibility to their fellow man. Isn't the world a scarier place in the face of this hyper-Hobbesian vision of something we once called society?
There is an overreach in the opposite direction where choice is denied to the individual in support of the collective, but when a house is allowed to burn to the ground over a $75 fee I think it's time to consider if the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Of course, that's not the message you'd get from the modern Republican party or the Tea party.