Will Obama Health Care Live, or Will it Spiral to Its Death?


The mandate that individuals carry health insurance has been the topic of hot debates in the past few weeks, as it becomes more and more questionable whether Obama health care will survive, or plummet to its death. In particular, justices have been posing skeptical questions regarding the mandate, which in theory is an effective method of getting more people into the insurance pool. The penalty that would be imposed upon those who do not buy health coverage if the mandate passes is relatively mild; 2.5% of household income, or $695 per year, which ever amount is greater.


Still, many feel that the Obama health care mandate is unconstitutional; it has been compared on television recently to citizens of the U.S. being forced to buy broccoli, because it is for the greater good of the nation’s health.  Even the presidential debates have touched on the subject many times, as candidates accuse former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney of devising the actual program that Obama health care is modeled after, known as “Romney care.”  In fact, the health care plan has worked very well in the state of Massachusetts.  Bloomberg Businessweek will be reporting in next week’s issue about the work being done by health policy experts and economists in an effort to find alternatives to the mandate that would help avoid legal issues while enticing healthy individuals to buy insurance.


Basically, individuals earning $30,000 would pay more than $2,000 annually for coverage, even considering the generous government subsidies.  Should individuals choose not to buy individual coverage, they would not be subject to penalties above the $695/2.5% of household income, nor would they face criminal prosecution.  Because $2,000 is still out of range of many individual’s budgets, it is believed that healthy people may choose to pay the fine rather than buy coverage, according to Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health.


Even if the Obama health care mandate lives, it is estimated that in the year 2016 approximately 26 million Americans would remain uninsured, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.  This number would be made up of primarily those who are exempt due to a low income level, those who choose to pay the penalty rather than buy coverage, and undocumented immigrants.


While there are many alternatives being discussed that would replace the Obama health care mandate, many individuals would likely remain uncovered regardless.  Might Obama health care be heading toward the dreaded death spiral?  While supporters hope that the mandate passes, if it falls it is still to be seen whether the other aspects of the health care law remain in place.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Comments are closed.