Funny how the individual mandate became the lightning rod of health reform

Much of the legal and rhetorical challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act revolves around the individual mandate to purchase health insurance. The idea is a good one because it expands the risk pool. Almost no one can afford to pay for health care out of pocket and more or less everyone needs health care eventually. Including everyone makes it feasible to avoid excluding people from coverage based on pre-existing conditions and even to charge them the same rates (community rating).

What’s funny about the current situation is that it’s not actually a provision President Obama favored. It was Hillary Clinton that argued for the individual mandate during the Presidential campaign while Obama rejected it. Meanwhile, some Republicans have certainly championed the idea in the past, even if they are trying to distance themselves from it now.

December 17, 2010

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