December 2, 2017

Of the defects in the just-passed tax legislation by the Senate, the most destructive by far in my option is the removal of the individual mandate for health insurance. Not that the mandate could not have been reshaped or improved but its removal is forecast, per the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to result in:

 " Without the mandate, health insurance premiums would rise 10 percent in most years over the next decade on the individual market and 13 million people would lose coverage by 2027, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report last month". 

So what in heavens name is the justification to vote for this?  "High-minded" legislators will say they want to give the public the right to choose. Others, being honest, note the "savings" because the need for government subsidies are reduced.
But costs won't be reduced globally because those without health insurance will not only risk their own health (and perhaps life) but will depend on the very high cost of emergency rooms for treatment. 

Can you imagine if social security as a means to provide a financial basis for retirement were proposed today? You would probably hear the argument that people should have the freedom to opt in or out of social security. Young healthy people might well say, "I don't need it." They would choose to wait until they got much older. The accumulated life time savings that accrue with our current all-in system wouldn't occur and the system would fail.  Many would be left close to destitute as they aged. They would live in deep poverty or become wards of the State. Would we argue that would be a better state for our Nation than where we are today?

Universal coverage for health care is standard fare for all developed Nations other than our own. The removal of the individual mandate will be looked back on as a grievous error. One that in time will need to be reversed. The negative consequences of this action will become apparent sooner than those voting for this legislation may expect. 

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