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The U.S. should have a federal level individual mandate to purchase health insurance.

There are few subjects more likely to get people heated than health care (mmmm, maybe topped only by religion and politics).  Health Care impacts  almost every part of a our lives - our health,  life,  money, and, of course, it becomes political.  It is no wonder it gets people so wrapped around the axle.

Today the Supreme Court will weigh-in on the individual health insurance mandate (among other things), so we here at VoteFacts want to find out how you weigh-in on that subject.  We dare to travel into this hot button arena with you, our readers, and find out what your opinion is on the individual mandate of the new health care law.

We are going to provide you with some bulletpoints from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), but ultimately we just want to know your educated opinion.

Read below and tell us, no matter what the court says, should the Individual Mandate stay or should it Go?

Read, Verify, Learn, Vote!

Here are some bits from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):

By January 1, 2014, nearly every resident of the United States will be required to have health insurance coverage.  To comply with the new rules, people generally must be enrolled in qualifying plans that provide minimum essential coverage.  2012 CBO Report Page 5

Failure to comply with what is known as the individual mandate can carry a financial penalty, will range from $695 for a single person with low or moderate income to as much as $12,500 for a high-income family.   2012 CBO Report Page 1

By January 31 each year, the IRS will receive enrollment information from private insurers and public programs for the previous calendar year; that information will include the name and Social Security number of every person covered by each plan and the dates of coverage.  Policyholders will receive similar information from insurers.  The exchanges will be required to report to the IRS the name and taxpayer identification number of every person who receives an affordability or hardship exemption.   2012 CBO Report Page 9

With the individual health insurance mandate, CBO and JCT have estimated that about 23 million nonelderly residents will be uninsured in 2019.  Eliminating the individual mandate to obtain coverage would increase the number of uninsured by about 16 million people, resulting in an estimated 39 million uninsured in 2019.  2010 CBO Report Page 2

CBO estimates that absent the individual mandate, between 2012 and 2022 there would be a net reduction in the deficit by $282 billion.    CBO Report Page 4

Some analysts argued that a mandate would encourage more people—especially the young and the healthy—to purchase insurance (for example, Gruber, 2010).  Others wondered whether uninsured people—especially the young and the healthy—would forgo coverage even with the mandate, particularly if they could spend less on a penalty than they would to purchase health insurance (Cassidy, 2010; Kling, 2010).  Another focus of debate concerned the mandate’s enforceability.  Some observers predicted that people would enroll out of fear that an expanded tax agency would have new powers; others suggested that many people would not comply as long as they believed that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not have sufficient authority or resources to enforce the new requirement (Block, 2010; Cassidy, 2010).   CBO Report Page 2

A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique.  First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society.  Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.  1994 CBO Report Page 1

Here are some things from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about the individual mandate:

For many individuals, the penalty amounts for not having insurance coverage were not sufficiently large to  have a sizable impact on the coverage decision.  CMS Report Page 7

18 million would choose not to be insured and to pay the penalty (if applicable) associated with the individual mandate.  For the most part, these would be individuals with relatively low health care expenses for whom the individual or family insurance premium would be significantly in excess of any penalty and their anticipated health benefit value.  CMS Report Page 8

So we want to hear your educated opinion on the individual mandate.   In short, the individual mandate could help increase the number of people with health insurance by approximately 16 million.  The federal government would gain an estimated $27 billion dollars by collecting the fees relating to the penalties.  Without the mandate, those 16 million might remain uninsured and the federal government could not collect the estimated $27 billion dollars.  You might also want to consider that there is also an effect of lowering the cost of health insurance premiums when more people purchase them, although we do not have exact numbers.

With the new health care law, premiums are expected to change in these ways:

Non-group market average premiums 10-13% higher (because of wider range of coverage and more benefits, see more at Featured Fast Facts #92);

Small group market average premium projected to be 1 percent higher to 2 percent lower;

Large market average premiums projected to be zero to 3 percent lower.

Without the mandate, those premiums would likely be higher, but we do not have those exact numbers.

(The above simply factors the premium change, it does not include subsidies or tax credits that might make that premium more affordable to the individual, even if it is actually more expensive than it otherwise would be).

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