Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Supreme Court and the Insurance Mandate
Once the decision was made to create a system based on what now exists, it was necessary to create a large enough pool that insurers could insure everyone, regardless of existing conditions, at reasonable and affordable premiums. Insurers naturally tend to try to insure healthy people. Healthy people tend not to buy insurance because they don't expect they will need it. Hence, the requirement that everyone should either buy an insurance policy or pay a special tax, to be used to reduce the premiums charged to those people who do buy health insurance.
The system won't work unless everyone pays a share of the total health care cost for the whole nation.
The Court will decide, among other things, whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to require everyone to buy health insurance. If the Court decides that the mandate is unconstitutional, the whole scheme will have to be revised. It probably will be necessary to enact a national health care plan, paid for with taxes, to cover everyone. The people who have brought the case to the Court because they object to the mandate are providing the justification for the need of a national plan that covers everyone, similar to the "single-payer" system in Canada or the National Health Service in many European countries.
I have mixed feelings about this case.