Wednesday, September 12, 2007

208 Commission Wants Individual Mandates

The 208 Commission is considering a 5th proposal for universal health care coverage, which would rely heavily on a so-called "individual mandate", according to the September 11, 2007 Rocky Mountain News:
Under the plan, Coloradans would be required to provide proof of health insurance when filing their state income taxes. Failure to do so could result in a tax penalty equal to the cost of a year's worth of coverage.
Yet, this has already been tried in Massachusetts and is generating serious problems because it does not address the fundamental cause of skyrocketing health care costs, namely the government interference in medicine. The state mandates expensive "comprehensive" plans that many people (rationally) would not necessarily choose for themselves. As a result, many of the working poor are being squeezed. According to this recent article:
About 160,000 uninsured people in the state have incomes that are too high to qualify for subsidized health insurance -- but too low to afford the lowest-cost unsubsidized plans. About 60,000 of these working poor won't face a penalty for not getting insurance, but the 100,000 others are in a bind.

"What I'm starting to see," [single mother Maureen] Linehan said, "is the people have to pay for their health care, and now they can't afford to pay their rent."
In other words, the plan hurts the working poor the most - the very people it is supposed to help.

Even former Massachussets governor Mitt Romney, one of the key architects of the Massachusetts plan, is now backing away from his former support of an individual mandate in his national political campaigning. The August 24, 2007 New York Times reports:
There is no individual mandate in Mr. Romney’s plan for the rest of the country. Instead, it concentrates on a "federalist" approach, premised on the belief that it is impossible to create a uniform system for the entire country.

..."He's run away from the Massachusetts plan," said Stuart Altman, a health economist at Brandeis University who worked in the Nixon administration and has helped advise many politicians since, including Senator Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential contender.
The individual mandate violates an individual's right to decide how best to spend his own money for his own health, and attempts to substitute a bureaucrat's judgment instead.

If the man who signed it into law in Massachusetts is no longer supporting the individual mandate, why should we adopt it here in Colorado?