Monday, November 10, 2008

Do Individual Mandates Matter?

Health insurance mandates are a major topic these days. Basically, to get around the politically difficult challenge of implementing truly universal healthcare, politicians and legislatures have embraced mandates as a stop-gap measure. Instead of providing care, these entities mandate individuals to obtain care for either themselves or their family members (i.e., their children) or face penalties. While in theory this should increase the rates of coverage to near-universal, it is not actually a guarantee of providing adequate care to anyone or to everyone.

My support of mandates has waxed and waned over time. It seems like they could be a good idea, but it really depends on how their implemented and enforced. If done poorly, they could actually do more harm than good. Healthcare Economist has a few thoughts on the same topic in Thoughts on individual mandates:
Health insurance require that all individuals buy health insurance. Most voters views on an individual mandate depend on how you frame the question. If you ask voters: “Should everyone buy health insurance?” Most people will say yes.

If you ask “Should the government compel all ndividuals to buy health insurance regardless of the cost?” Then the response is much less positive.

Keep reading to see what else he has to say. Interesting stuff, and an issue that potentially may affect all of us in the near future.


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