Economist Robert Reich says Republicans may well be able to defund the Obamacare "individual mandate," the requirement that everyone purchase health insurance, or pay a fine.
"According to a recent poll, 60 percent of the public opposes it," Reich writes in his blog. "They just don’t like the idea of government telling them they have to buy something."
Thus far, two federal judges have struck down the individual mandate part of Obamacare, without which Obamacare can’t work. Both judges said the federal government has no more constitutional authority to require that citizens buy insurance than it has to require them to buy and consume broccoli or asparagus.
“Only if everyone buys insurance can insurers afford to cover people with preexisting conditions, or pay the costs of catastrophic diseases,” says Reich.
Reich notes it’s curious that Americans don’t mind individual mandates when they come in the form of payroll taxes to buy mandatory public insurance.
“In fact, that’s the system we call Social Security and Medicare, and both are so popular politicians dare not touch them,” he says. “And no federal judge has struck down Social Security or Medicare as being unconstitutional requirements that Americans buy something.”
“So if the individual mandate to buy private health insurance gets struck down by the Supreme Court or killed off by Congress, I’d recommend President (Barack) Obama immediately propose what he should have proposed in the beginning — universal healthcare based on Medicare for all, financed by payroll taxes,” Reich says.
A study published in the journal Health Affairs stated that Obama’s health reforms might result in Americans losing out on coverage because of the mandates introduced under the new laws.
Researchers said that around 28-million people will experience coverage that changes with fluctuating incomes, and that some people might end up losing and gaining coverage on more than one occasion during the course of a year.
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