Obamacare Mandate

Obamacare update


LA Times – Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don’t like what they see. These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years. Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama’s signature legislation.
Glenn Greewald, Guardian, UK, 2012 – When the legislation that became known as “Obamacare” was first  drafted, the key legislator was the Democratic Chairman of the Senate  Finance Committee, Max Baucus, whose committee took the lead in drafting the legislation. As Baucus himself repeatedly boasted, the architect of that legislation was Elizabeth Folwer, his chief health policy counsel; indeed, as Marcy Wheeler discovered, it was Fowler who actually drafted it. As Politico put it at the time: “If you drew an organizational  chart of major players in the Senate health care negotiations, Fowler  would be the chief operating officer.”
What was most amazing  about all of that was that, before joining Baucus’ office as the point  person for the health care bill, Fowler was the Vice President for  Public Policy and External Affairs (i.e. informal lobbying) at  WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance provider (before going  to WellPoint, as well as after, Folwer had worked as Baucus’ top health  care aide). And when that health care bill was drafted, the person whom  Fowler replaced as chief health counsel in Baucus’ office, Michelle  Easton, was lobbying for WellPoint as a principal at Tarplin, Downs, and Young.
Whatever one’s views on Obamacare were and are: the  bill’s mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry; as Wheeler wrote at the time: “to the extent  that Liz Fowler is the author of this document, we might as well  consider WellPoint its author as well.”
More amazingly still,  when the Obama White House needed someone to oversee implementation of  Obamacare after the bill passed, it chose . . . Liz Fowler. That the  White House would put a former health insurance industry executive in  charge of implementation of its new massive health care law was roundly  condemned by good government groups as at least a violation of the  “spirit” of governing ethics rules and even “gross”, but those  objections were, of course, brushed aside by the White House.
Sam Smith, 2012- Things to remember about the individual mandate
It was invented by the right wing Heritage Foundation.
The crash of the individual mandate will increase pressure for expanding Medicare and moving towards single payer.
During the whole Obamacare debate, we didn’t find one liberal   commentator concerned about the financial cost to individuals of the   mandate, a cost that might increase expenses anywhere from $5000 a year  for an individual to  $12,000 a year for a family of four.
Admittedly,  some of the uninsured could afford this sum but many can’t. And as the  Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas noted back in 2004: “The  lack of  insurance is particularly acute among Hispanics.”
In pushing for the individual mandate, Obama wanted success more than he wanted a specific goal. Thus his  compromises were not wise incremental steps towards something grander,  but a hodgepodge of deals with the  ultimate aim of having something to  brag about. Further, the  dangerously bad was mixed with the clearly good. This is not a good  legislative approach.
The mandate was not put in the bill for citizens but for the insurance  industry. As Peter Suderman notes at Reason, “According to a Supreme  Court brief  filed by the insurance industry’s biggest lobbying group,  the industry  doesn’t oppose the law—just so long as it includes the  most  constitutionally dubious provision, a mandate to purchase health   insurance.”

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