Americans who are unhappy with Obamacare should push for repeal of the "individual mandate." Conservatives don't like the individual mandate because it's an unnecessary power grab that tramples the constitution. Liberals don't like it because it forces people to do business with private insurance companies:
An individual mandate to buy private health insurance has never been progressive. It is less cost effective, less consumer friendly, less egalitarian, less universal, and more prone to corruption...
Barack Obama ran for president in opposition to the individual mandate. Here's what candidate Obama said about the individual mandate back in 2008:
Hillary's health care plan forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it. Is that the best we can do for families struggling with high health care costs?Hillary's health care plan forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it... and you pay a penalty if you don't.The way Hillary Clinton's health care plan covers everyone is to have the government force uninsured people to buy insurance, even if they can't afford it."...forcing those who cannot afford health insurance to buy it through mandates...punishing those who don't fall in line with fines."Punishing families who can't afford health care to begin with just doesn't make sense.
Even PolitiFact, no fan of conservatives (Politifact credited Sarah Palin with the "Lie of the Year"), has rated Barack Obama with a "full flop" for his flip on the individual mandate:
Obama was vigorous in his attacks on Clinton for including an indvidual mandate in her plan. Now that the Democrats in the House have included a mandate in health reform legislation, he's fine with it. He admitted he changed position in the interview with CBS. Full Flop!
Obama can still redeem himself by supporting a repeal of the individual mandate. Obama has already issued hundreds of Obamacare exemptions by administrative fiat. Why not cooperate with Congress to repeal the most unpopular provision of the Democrats' health care law?
The individual mandate is wildly unpopular with the general public, so a repeal of this provision of the Democrats' health care law is entirely plausible.
There is one big problem, however. Repealing the individual mandate could bring down the rest of the Obamacare house of cards. If the individual mandate is repealed while leaving the rest of the health care legislation intact, the private health insurance industry would fold. This may be a satisfactory endpoint for some supporters of Obamacare, but without the revenues generated by the individual mandate, and without the reluctant cooperation of private insurers, Obamacare could quickly become politically unsustainable.
America is overwhelmingly opposed to the individual mandate. So let's repeal it. If the repeal succeeds, Obamacare fails. If repeal fails, supporters of the individual mandate will have to go on record and tell the voters why they're forcing this down America's throat. Either way, an up-or-down vote on a cleand and simple repeal of the individual mandate could do a world of good.
The new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives could get the ball rolling.Will they take action on behalf of the wishes of the American people? Will conservatives push the GOP hard enough?
Update: Robert "We're Going to Let You Die" Reich says we should let the individual mandate live. But with caveats, he grudgingly admits, "this is a smart strategy for the GOP."
Update II: Democratic support for repealing the individual mandate and other parts of Obamacare...
Hat tip: Conservative Home