Is The Health Insurance Mandate Backdooring To The Public Option?

Okay, The Lion is not a constitutional lawyer, but there’s a question of slyness involved in the health care legislation wending its way through Congress.

Assuming the Senate passes the reconciliation bill of fixes and the President signs the whole magilla, there will be some reform of the health insurance industry, purchased at the price of mandating that everyone buy insurance.

But some thirty states are saying they’re going to fight that provision, and likely some others. Suppose they do, and the mandate question ends up in the Supreme Court.

And further suppose the Boys In Black strike down the mandate, but otherwise leave the law intact.

Then the insurance companies are naked and will have to compete in an open market (the so-called free market the right wing is so fond of promoting while they support it with government handouts and take kickbacks in campaign contributions).

Ergo, in essence, a faux public option in which people will buy the best deal, likely driving down prices and concomitantly forcing the medical care industry to clean up its pricing too.

Could the Democrats have been planning on such a coup all along?

Probably not, but it could be interesting.

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4 Responses

  1. I wish I understood this whole Health Bill, but in all honesty, I don’t. I’ve purposely stayed out of the health care arguments, because I didn’t understand all the options. Now that it’s close to becoming some form of reality, I’ll have to study it.

    I predict, however, that like a lot of the social legislation that reactionaries fought tooth and nail to prevent, (social security, Clean Air, Clean Water, Civil Rights, etc. etc. etc.) we’ll look back and say that all the arguments were much ado about nothing. And that we are better off.

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  2. There is a level of credibility that the mandate is in fact unconstitutional. With that said though I’m lost on your take of how loss of the mandate encourages any more competition. Existing issues not solved by the reform coupled with no mandate will crush competition.

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    • Without a mandate forcing people into buying insurance, the companies will have to compete for customers if they want to make profit in the face of the restrictions the rest of the bill puts on them (pre-existing conditions, rescissions, lifetime caps – they would still lose those things). The companies would also have to bring pressure on the medical delivery industry – doctors, hospitals, labs – to find ways to lower prices while still delivering good care. The insurance companies have lost their anti-trust exemption, if I recall correctly recent legislation. Obviously it’s complicated and there’s no way really to tell how it will turn out if SCOTUS rejects the mandate alone. But I think this is one probable outcome. Not being an expert in all the ins and outs of this law et al, of course.

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  3. There is one good thing that will come out of this, (aside from universal health coverage, lower premiums, etc).

    Rush Limberger is going to move out of the country.

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