December 12, 2017

Obamacare Individual Mandate Repeal: House of Representatives Should Follow Senate Lead

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Health Care Expert Says Congress Can Fix Gross Violation of Individual Liberty

Mandate to Buy Insurance Failed to Make Obamacare Exchanges Function Properly

Washington, DC – With the Senate version of tax reform containing a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate, a health care expert with the National Center for Public Policy Research says the House of Representatives would be wise to embrace this restoration of individual liberty as the chambers conference on a final version of the bill to be sent to the White House.

“If Congress can’t repeal Obamacare all at once, then repealing it piece by piece is the next best thing. That’s what the Senate did Friday when it rolled back the individual mandate,” notes David Hogberg, Ph.D., a National Center adjunct fellow specializing in health care policy.

In a new National Center commentary published by the American Spectator, Dr. Hogberg suggests that the House of Representatives “now follow the Senate’s lead” in its own version of tax reform by adding a repeal of the penalty that compels Americans to buy health insurance, so that it is included in the final version sent to President Donald Trump.

“The Senate struck a blow for freedom,” adds Dr. Hogberg, the author of the bookMedicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians. “The House should do the same. This was never anything more than a gross encroachment on liberty. Nowhere in the Constitution or in constitutional law is there any justification for letting the government force people to buy health insurance. Chief Justice John Roberts erred greatly when he sided with the Supreme Court’s liberals in letting the mandate stand.”

In the commentary, Dr. Hogberg refutes Obamacare supporters who argue that the Obamacare exchanges will fall apart without the individual mandate. “The individual mandate has never worked as advertised,” he says. “It was supposed to keep premiums low and keep insurance companies in the exchanges. It has done neither.”

Also noted in the commentary:

  • The lowest-cost plan for a 27-year-old has risen 77 percent in cost since the exchanges started operating in 2014. The second lowest-cost silver plan has risen a whopping 88 percent in cost since that time.
  • Exchanges had over 250 insurance companies participating in 2014. In 2018 that number will fall to under 170, a drop of over one-third.
  • In 2014, 76 percent of exchange enrollees had at least three insurers to choose from. Only six percent had just one. Due to so many insurers leaving the exchanges, the percentage of enrollees with a choice of only one insurer will rise to 26 percent in 2018, while those with three or more insurers will fall to 48 percent.

“In short, the individual mandate does not now, nor will it ever, work as Obamacare supporters claimed it would,” writes Dr. Hogberg. “Considering that the mandate is also a gross encroachment on individual freedom, there is no reason why Congress shouldn’t repeal it in the name of tax reform.”

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