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House to Vote on Making Fine for Disobeying Obamacare Individual Mandate $0

8:04 AM, Mar 5, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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“Here’s why:  If insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to anyone who applies for insurance—especially those who have health problems and are potentially more expensive to cover—then there is nothing stopping someone from waiting until they’re sick or injured to apply for coverage since insurance companies can’t say no.  That would lead to double digit premiums increases—up to 20%—for everyone with insurance, and would significantly increase the cost [of] health care spending nationwide.  We don’t let people wait until after they’ve been in a car accident to apply for auto insurance and get reimbursed, and we don’t want to do that with healthcare.  If we’re going to outlaw discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, the only way to keep people from gaming the system and raising costs on everyone else is to ensure that everyone takes responsibility for their own health insurance.”

So, in Cutter’s own words, without its individual mandate, Obamacare would be “cost prohibitive,” “would lead to double digit premiums increases,” and “would significantly increase the cost [of] health care spending nationwide.”  In fact, “the only way” to make it all work is to rely on the individual mandate.  In other words, without its requirement that private American citizens, for the first time in United States history, must buy a product or service of the federal government’s choosing, Obamacare would be much more of a disaster than it’s already poised to be.

That’s why Obamacare supporters will be loathe to agree to eliminate the penalty, or tax, for violating the individual mandate this year.  Right now, someone who makes, say, $61,000 a year would have to pay $509 as compensation for violating the federal government’s decree, and Obamacare supporters won’t want that tally to be reduced to $0.  It’ll be interesting to see how they will explain their thinking on that point to the American citizenry.

Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda.

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