It’s simpler and more effective than the Obamacare individual mandate. And, it is Constitutional.
Rather than forcing people to buy insurance or pay a penalty to the government, here’s my mandate:
If you choose not to purchase insurance and you need medical care, we will expect you to pay for your medical care.
Some will say, “But what about the people who can’t afford insurance?”
I have three responses to those people.
First, check out the insurance rates in Missouri. A $5,000 deductible plan for a family of four runs around $300 a month. That’s not dirt cheap, but it’s affordable for many people. It’s about like a car payment. If insurance is more expensive where you live, I suggest that you give serious thought as to why (psst…It’s because of your state insurance mandates — maybe you should elect a legislature that will enact affordable mandates).
If someone has new cars, premium channels and a smart phone data package, don’t expect me to feel sorry for them if they say they couldn’t afford insurance.
Second, if we got government out of medical care and insurance, we’d have even cheaper solutions that would make it even more affordable. Government involvement distorts the incentives (e.g. emergency room care mandate) that makes it more expensive. Without government involvement and restrictions, we’d see more solutions along the lines of $4 Walmart prescriptions.
Third, after that, if you still have some people who can’t afford insurance I’d offer two solutions:
1. Donate money to a charity that provides affordable insurance those folks.
2. If we still must do a government solution, target low-income folks with a medical care credit that they will use to buy health insurance and pay deductibles. Why break the system for everyone else? Just fix it for them.
Update: As I was writing this, it came to my attention that the administration is trying to rebrand its mandate as an “individual responsibility” clause. I think my mandate better fits that description.
Update 2: I like MikeM’s response in the comments to those who ask, “What about the people who can’t afford insurance?”
If they were expected to pay for their medical care, then they “could not afford not to have insurance.” They would figure something out.