Democrats Love Mandates
Tom Curry, national affairs writer for MSNBC, published an article about how Congressional democrats plan to get all (or better said most) Americans covered with health insurance (read about it here): they will be forced to buy it. Data from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid, quoted in the article, indicates that up to 6 million people have been added to the number of uninsured Americans through job losses due to the economic recession, meaning that approximately 53 million are now uninsured in the US.
Health policy experts believe that many of the uninsured are healthy because the average age of the uninsured is lower than the same average for the population at large. Because the uninsured our young (and presumably healthy) they don't perceive the need to have insurance. Forcing them to buy insurance will reduce per person costs for coverage for everyone, at least theoretically.
At the same time that individuals will be mandated to buy insurance, insurance companies will be mandated to issue health insurance to everyone, according to Congressional democrats.
These dual mandates have been euphemistically labeled "shared responsibility" by Pres. Obama, who campaigned against mandates (for adults) last year.
There are many problems with this approach. First, how much will this cost? Everyone knows that many people are uninsured because they simply cannot afford the insurance. The House and Senate bills do not require people with incomes under about $16,000/year to purchase insurance. The taxpayer will presumably need to pay for the entire cost of that care. People making more than that may still have financial difficulty buying a health benefit, so it is anticipated that more tax dollars will be required to supplement the payment of those premiums. Second, how do you penalize those who decide to forgo purchasing health insurance? One estimate concluded that 36 million Americans will disobey the mandate over the first decade of such regulation. A related question is how will health insurance products be qualified as 'credible' coverage fulfilling this mandate?
But I have a better question. Why are we even considering a mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance, a product that is manifestly bloated, bureaucratic, wasteful, and associated with poor quality health care?
We can do better.
Dr. Joe Jarvis