What The ObamaCare Insurance Mandate Means

by Sal on October 11, 2009

in Politics

Wake up America.  The individual insurance mandate that will be imposed by ObamaCare means not only a lack of choice in how you spend your money, but also means that unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. will get to change the rules whenever it suits their whim.  This type of bad policy is already on display for the world to see, in my own state, that bastion of Socialism, The People’s Republic of Massachusetts.

Wendy Williams and her husband live in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Ms. William’s husband retired a decade ago, but is not yet eligible for Medicare, and are therefore still on their company’s retiree health care coverage.  They both chose to lead fiscally responsible lives, paying off their mortgage, not carrying any debt, and having an emergency-fund savings.  Ms. Sullivan and her husband looked at their health care needs, and decided to purchase a catastrophic type health care plan that carried a $2,500 deductible, paying about $300 / month out of pocket.  When the individual insurance mandate went into effect in 2007, the plan was considered acceptable by the state.  Because of the whim of some bureaucrats on Beacon Hill, the state decided to change its individual insurance mandate to limit the deductibles that applied to $2,000, $500 less than the plan offered by IBM that the Sullivans have signed on to.

The Sullivans have three choices.  First, they could sign onto the government option plan that Massachusetts offers that is subsidized by the taxpayers.  Second, they could go on the next tier of plan offered by IBM, which would increase their monthly premium from $300 / month to $800 / month for health care they don’t need.  Finally, they could pay a fine of $1000 to the People’s Republic.  They chose the latter.

The problem with the individual mandate is that it costs people money that they don’t need to spend.  The Williams’ are making a decision based on their lifestyle and health care needs, and yet they are told by the government that their choice is wrong.  The arbitrary nature of the mandate, and the ability for the government to change the mandate on a whim also is troubling, as individuals can be in compliance one year but forced to pay a fine the next, just because the government decided to make the options more restrictive (this is likely an attempt to raise more fine money to pay for the plan, as the health care plan in MA is quickly approaching insolvency).  Mandates limit choice and competition, and create an atmosphere that will drive costs up, not down.  The nation should take a lesson from Massachusetts.  America, is this what you want for your health care?  I can tell you that it does not work here in Massachusetts, so what leads anyone to think that it will work in the rest of the nation?

H/T: The Volokh Conspiracy

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