Just to get this out of the way, I do believe that in the name of common humanity we are doing the right thing trying to rescue the climbers stranded on Mt. Hood. That being said....
Our society often tries to protect the imbeciles of this country often to a ridiculous degree. You've heard of course of "legislating against stupidity". It isn't possible although there are thousands of laws on the books attempting to do just that.
My point is this ....where as a society do we draw the line when this so called safety net we offer up is no longer prudent. I'm a strong believer in letting people commit suicide if that's their irrevocable intention. I am however adamantly opposed to paying for it.
Has climbing Mount Hood (even by experienced mountainers) in December crossed that line? Mountain climbing is a dangerous business and climbing a mother like Mt Hood is decidedly so. You think not? Talk to a life insurance rep and see how much life insurance costs someone who does this sort of thing regularly. VERY expensive if obtainable at all. It's not because the insurance people believe they're dealing with imbeciles but because the endeavor is "inherently" perilous.
Some would argue the same could be said of hiking boating and even driving. It's a specious argument; A person who does regular hiking or boating will not be rated up but a person who skydives, cliffdives, mountain climbs, paraglides etc. most definately will because the % liklihood of a catastophic accident is significantly greater for people in these groups.
As a society we should say fine, do what you want but there are certain endeavors which, should you choose to engage in, it's YOUR personal responsibility to cover your own a$$. If a search and rescue is required, you pay.
Let these folks who engage in high risk behaviors self insure. YOU want to dance, YOU pay the band. Just as we require proof of insurance to drive a car, let SAR insurance be required for those who would be most likely to require the service.
NO card, NO climb.