David Brooks: Obama Will Further Weaken Healthcare Mandates

Sunday, 22 Dec 2013 12:12 PM

By Greg Richter

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The White House announcement that hardship exemptions to the individual mandate  will be given to some people is proof that the administration will continue to weaken Obamacare mandates, says New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Every time the White House has been faced with mandating something or surrendering on it, they have surrendered every time, Brooks said Sunday on "Meet the Press."  "So you have to expect they're going to weaken and surrender on the mandate down the line."

President Barack Obama has by executive order delayed the employer mandate for companies to provide insurance to employees for one year, as he has the small business mandate. He also has extended the deadline for signing up to receive coverage on Jan. 1 from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23. And since then, he has told insurance companies to retroactively insure people who were unable to sign up because of problems with the system's website.

Brooks said the onslaught of exemptions and delays weaken the system.

"Basically, when you have any big government program, you build the system and you say to people, you have to work within the system, and sometimes we're going to limit your choice. We're going to mandate things," he said. "But the American people do not like mandates anymore. We're a much more individualistic culture."

Fellow panelist E.J. Dionne Jr. said there is an "enormous appetite" among the uninsured to buy insurance and, "That's what's going to save Obamacare."

Brooks disagreed, saying that American society is not the same as it was in the 1930s and '60s. There is less faith in government, he said. People cannot be forced into the system, and that weakens it.

"The French system and the European systems, they tell you, 'You're too old for that operation, sorry,'" Brooks said.

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