Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Individual Mandate Requiring Everyone American To Buy Health Insurance Appears To Be In Trouble But Fight To Move To The States If Struck Down

The individual mandate in the healthcare reform act, supported by President Obama and the more liberal wing of the American political spectrum could be in trouble that could have a sweeping influence on the Presidential election in November.  By June, to those on the left and right, one of you will be a loser in this. However, it will merely be a black eye and the issue of universal healthcare won’t be going away.

Should individual mandate get struck down, this political fight will break up into fifty battles bought in state legislatures. The reason is that other parts of the healthcare law could still survive.  In fact, it has a very good chance of surviving.  And there are parts in there that both sides agree are worth keeping.  And it’ll be up to the states to make that happen somehow.  Even if it means enacting individual mandates on a state level.

After all, if the federal government is unable to force everyone to go out and buy health insurance, and parts of the law such as the one that keeps insurance companies from excluding certain people with preexisting conditions from being insured, then the states and insurance companies will have to find a way to make this work.

And here is where the right and the left can really say “aha!  I told you so”.  See, the the liberal, or blue, states may go ahead and enable their own individual mandate.  Imagine a state like California requiring everyone to buy health insurance just as it requires every driver to buy car insurance.  Then take a red state like Texas that probably won’t and may take a more open market approach.

A few years down the line, we can see whether this works as out as liberals say it would, limiting costs or whether conservatives were right with their approaches.  And we will see which state has the most insured versus the cost of making it happen.  And that is the political prize.

I know that I am over simplifying this.  A lot actually.  The point is as a union, we are moving in the direction where something has to be done about the uninsured and the rising cost of health care.  If the federal individual mandate is struck down (which seems to be in danger after today’s SCOTUS hearing), that means there’ll be likely fifty different approaches by the states to try to drive cost down and insure as many of its citizens as possible.  We are linked whether you like it or not.

Hopefully, whatever approach, we will find something that makes sense with as many people covered as possible without breaking the bank.

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