White House Mulls Health Care Law Without The Individual Mandate
Defenders of President Obama’s signature heath care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, are growing more and more confident that the act can stand even if the Supreme Court invalidates the Individual Mandate. The Individual Mandate is a requirement as part of the act that requires all American to purchase health insurance.
The discussions within the White House have remained secret, but the President has hinted in speeches that if the Individual Mandate is struck down he might have to take another crack at the health care issue, albeit this time with a Republican Congress.
David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the Obama Campaign said to the Huffington Post,
“Our hope and our expectation is that the Supreme Court will affirm the health care law, and if they don’t we will speak to that after. But now is not the time to speculate on that. We believe the law is constitutional. [The Affordable Care Act] is also really important to the health and well-being of the American people. It is already helping people all over this country, and has improved the position of people relative to their insurance companies, and the kind of policies they are getting and the return they are getting for the premiums they are paying.”
A Top Healthcare reform advocate also told the Huffington Post,
“As someone who believes the court is going to uphold fully, I do believe there is plenty of time — and plenty of options to develop and for Congress to enact — [for] alternative inducements should it be necessary,”
Advocates for Health Care reform are pointing to a recent RAND study that says even if the Individual Mandate were shot down the cost of health insurance would only slightly increase.
“[T]he RAND team predicts that these relatively modest premium increases will not be enough to trigger catastrophic failure of the exchanges,” the study concluded. “Why? Because of insurance subsidies, many enrollees will perceive little or no change in the amount of their contribution even when premiums increase. This reduces the chance of a large-scale exodus from the market.”
The Obama Administration is debating which parts of The Affordable Care Act would not be such a big deal to keep in place such as the provision allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until they are 26 which is a relatively cheap idea. The real issue are provisions that prohibit insurance companies form denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.
Another issue is that if the Supreme Court strikes down the entire law it will be necessary for President Obama to take the issue back to Congress, where the republicans would not let most of his proposals ever see the light of day.