Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Individual mandate

I believe that Hawaii and Massachusetts both have a mandate that citizens must purchase health insurance. As I understand it the logic behind such a move is that by expanding the pool of citizens that are covered that more healthy people are included which allows companies to spread costs and reduce prices. To make this work everyone has to purchase more comprehensive insurance rather than cheaper, more limited coverage with higher deductibles.

A commenter on the Marginal Revolution blog discusses how this has impacted his personal situation:
And, I still cannot buy a private plan in Massachusetts. The State forces me to buy hair replacement treatment insurance among a host of things I do not want insurance for, and I cannot purchase a high deductible plan—it is illegal.
Doesn't strike me as the optimal way to go.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Short of continuing the status quo what option doesn't run the risk of bad government meddling?

Even removing the barrier on inter-state sales of health plans runs the risk that Congress would include something bad in the legislation limiting the type of plan or setting a national floor for coverage.

An individual mandate is still the way to go. Right now we have universal basic health care (you will not be turned away at the Emergency Room) but not universal insurance coverage. This means there are those whose coverage is funded by society. This will always be true, but under the current system there are those who can pay but don't. An individual mandate with a low benefit floor that could only be changed by 2/3 vote would accomplish that. Not sure the supermajority clause would be constitutional but . . .