With the prospects of a public (read: government) option losing momentum, another aspect of health-care “reform” is gaining more attention: an insurance mandate. The Senate Finance Committee bill requires that individuals obtain health coverage that meets government-approved “minimum required benefit” standards or face a tax that could be as high as $750.
Here is an excerpt on the “excise tax” from the current version of that bill:
Summing up the problems with such government mandates, a Cato Institute briefing paper from Michael F. Cannon states the following:
Compulsory health insurance could require nearly 100 million Americans to switch to a more expensive health plan and would therefore violate President Barack Obama’s pledge to let people keep their current health insurance. In particular, the legislation before Congress could eliminate many or all health savings account plans. Making health insurance compulsory would also spark an unnecessary fight over abortion and would enable government to ration care to those with private health insurance.
In addition, such an ill-conceived mandate would be a boost to private insurance companies who would see their customer pool greatly increase. Individuals not wanting to pay the fine would reluctantly sign up for health insurance thanks to the paternalistic nudging of the government.