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Mandating health insurance

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Two competing views on the topic: The individual mandate is essential to healthcare reform Linda Blumberg, a health economist and senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a policy think tank in Washington, D.

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Instead, you want there to be pools of people with similar risk: bad drivers and good drivers who pay different premiums.If there were no individual mandate included in the legislation, this would create a situation where people would be likely to wait until they had a health problem diagnosed before they applied for insurance.That would cause premiums to increase and make coverage increasingly unattractive to people who are young and healthy.In order to make coverage affordable in the absence of a mandate, we would have to subsidize the program so that insurers did not charge sicker people higher premiums.“Alternatively, we can put an individual mandate in place, which would spread the costs of those with medical needs across the broader population through insurance premiums.People by and large want to comply with the law and have healthcare coverage.

“One problem with the Massachusetts system -- and for many workers under the proposed national system -- is that if you have an employer-sponsored health insurance offer, you are generally prohibited from getting subsidized insurance.

“The best evidence in support of an individual mandate comes from Massachusetts, where it has been very effective: Just 2.6% of the population remains uninsured.

While some additional subsidies might increase that rate of coverage a little bit, that’s about as close as you can get to universal coverage without making everybody automatically enrolled through a single-payer system that draws from taxes.

“What the government is trying to do is transform insurance into a welfare system.

In Massachusetts, it turns out that subsidies are needed in order to get people to comply with the mandate anyway.

Should the government force everyone to purchase health insurance?