Insurance Death Spiral, Here We Come!

When states tried to fix their individual health insurance markets—the marketplace for those who don't get insurance through their employers—the initial idea was to simply prohibit insurers from discriminating against individuals with preexisting conditions. But that caused what insurers called a "death spiral"—ever higher premiums as relatively healthy people decided to wait until they were sick to buy insurance, leaving smaller and smaller pools of more and more expensive individuals.

The solution to this problem, both in Massachusetts and in ObamaCare, was the individual mandate: Force everyone to pay in, bringing balance to the insurance pool and keeping prices down. Of course, that only works if everyone is actually compelled to purchase insurance. And a report by the Joint Committee on Taxation last week seems to indicate that, as written, the individual mandate may not have any teeth. Here's the relevant passage:

The penalty [for not purchasing insurance] applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.

And the footnote on Code F:

IRS authority to assess and collect taxes is generally provided in subtitle F, “Procedure and  Administration” in the Code.  That subtitle establishes the rules governing both how taxpayers are required to report information to the IRS and pay their taxes as well as their rights.  It also establishes the duties and authority of the IRS to enforce the Code, including civil and criminal penalties. 

So there are penalties for not purchasing insurance. But there's no serious enforcement mechanism allowing the IRS to make sure those penalties get paid?

Given the importance of the mandate to the health reform project, this doesn't make much sense. The law was designed to expand the number of individuals with health insurance. But without the ability to enforce the individual mandate, any expansion will likely be significantly smaller than projected.

Now, there is plenty of time to amend the enforcement provisions before the mandate kicks in in 2014. But if this is true, and it remains true, it could upend the entire health reform project.

I took a look at problems with the individual mandate here. Jacob Sullum wrote about challenges to the individual mandate here.

Thanks to Daniel Foster and Morgen Richmond for calling attention to the JCT report.

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  • Valerie Jarrett||

    Come on. You just don't understand it yet. In the months and years ahead America will come to love and appreciate the wisdom and foresight of us, their overlo-- I mean us, their public servants.

  • boomshanka||

    So wait, are you saying that Obama won't force people to buy insurance at gunpoint? My world is shattered...

  • Death Panelist||

    But if this is true, and it remains true, it could upend the entire health reform project.

    It's going to work as planned. The "death spiral" will be necessary for Congress in a few years to justify the federal government taking an even larger role in health care in the United States.

  • ||

    I'm not sure it will even take a few years...between the NYTimes report that insurers may not actually have to cover children with pre-existing conditions ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03.....ealth.html) until 2014, and Waxman's impending demonization of companies that claim HCR will cost their retirees coverage, I'd say new legislation will be coming to a district near you...maybe by 2011...unless...

  • ||

    Not if the Republicans get in office and refuse to fund this mess!

  • ||

    Yeah, because the Republicans are known for not funding massively intrusive inefficient and counterproductive expansions of government.

  • Kristikat||

    Unbelievable! The Dems use bribery, lies and corruption to that crap bill through -- without one Repub on board -- and you still blame the Rebublicans? Wake up.

  • ||

    Forgotten Medicare part D already?
    Forgotten the utter lack of repeals despite plenty of opportunity?

    You have the intellectual range of a virus.

  • ||

    True, neither party has proved itself a reliable steward of...well, anything but its own feathered nest. So let's hope that those scary-very-scary tea partiers keep on raising such beautiful cain. And that the GOP realizes its last slim chance at relevance is to walk the fiscally responsible walk when they sweep back into office in January 2011.

  • David R||

    I think the IRS can still make your life miserable. Long before you get to liens and seizures.

  • ||

    The law was designed to expand the number of individuals with health insurance.

    The law was designed to inexorably lead to single-payer health care, silly.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    It'll never happen. The folks with the money got what they wanted: a captive customer base. No way are they turning that money over to the government.

  • dave b.||

    Except for the fact that when the promised cost and deficit reductions never materialize, the government will deem it a market failure and accuse the insurance companies of profiteering or collusion or whatever. The government will make a big dog and pony show about the evil insurance company execs on the way to full nationalization of health care.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    You're right until you get to "...to the full nationalization of health care." It isn't happening. The Dems belong to The Money, and The Money isn't giving up competition-free income streams. Just not happening.

  • ||

    You think the Democrats are going to be incontrol of the government in a few years, AFTER the insurance market has turned into a massive clusterfuck on their watch?

    You really think voters are going to give them filibuster proof majorities and the whitehouse, AFTER seeing their premiums skyrocket and being forced to buy insurance at those rates?

  • ericw||

    I agree. This was the Democrats' one big shot to do a takeover of the healthcare industry, and it looks like even in victory they blew it. Their grip on the media narrative is loosening, we're running out of money, and they now own the mess they've created in healthcare. They're not going to get another chance to take over healthcare in our lifetimes.

  • ||

    You really think the Republicans won't finish the job once government health care is mainstream and the only affordable option for half the population?

    Have you even looked at the pattern laid out for you in the rest of the world?

  • ||

    ""Except for the fact that when the promised cost and deficit reductions never materialize, the government will deem it a market failure and accuse the insurance companies of profiteering or collusion or whatever""

    And that's where they will place the blame when they raise taxes to cover costs.

  • ||

    While the legislation may not add teeth to the mandate, the teeth may be automatic if the IRS writes their own rule to apply the mandate to your tax assessment prior to all other taxes are applied. So, if you owe $95 in penalty for not getting insurance, and $1000 in federal taxes by only sending $1000 to the IRS you're not ignoring the fine, you're ignoring the final $95 of your taxes.

    See? This is how evil motherfuckers get around poorly written language and the Constitution. They may be dumb, but they are not dumb enough as to be ineffective at achieving their goals.

  • ||

    Not to mention that most people get a refund? You better be dead on balls accurate with your withholding to avoid the fine.

  • Joe Kristan||

    But if they can't enforce penalties, what's to keep you from leaving the penalty off the return in the first place? There won't be a 1099 from someone saying you didn't buy a policy from them.

  • ||

    My guess is the form will have a place for you to write the tax ID number of your insurer or some such illegal crap that people will nonetheless comply with. Most people have insurance or are getting it on purpose with this new legislation. Those that don't are unpatriotic suspects!

  • ||

    You're right, Nick. The IRS routinely applies payments to penalties and interest before tax owed. It'd be shocking if that didn't happen with the HI penalty. And I'm sure there'll be a box to give an insuror EIN or whatever, which will crossmatch with information returns pretty efficiently.

    It's kinda amusing to watch parts of the 'sphere, including policy types and even some law professors, get worked up about the apparent lack of enforcement mechanism. Guess all those good-government types never underpaid their taxes.

  • ||

    Yay! Obama has solved the problem!

    Admit it, teabaggurz. Obama is your daddy or something.

    Just wait until the people see how great their coming utopia will be - if only those racist killer teabaggurz don't screw it all up first.

  • ||

    I know a lot of people always say "Well Republicans suck too..."

    I am going to hold my nose and vote for a Republican in 2010 & 2012. I cannot imagine myself voting EVER for another Democrat after this shit.

    STOP SPENDING!!

  • Tony||

    Would it help to know that the GOP crusade against spending (and how sincere it is, considering how awfully fiscally responsible they've been) is nothing but a cynical move to attack Democrats at a weak spot--the spending necessary to prevent a depression that began in the last administration. That they know full well that if Dems don't spend, the economy will tank and they can thus be blamed? Does it help to know that the treasury is actually making a profit on some of its bank bailouts? Or that the GOP is the party of economic destruction, plutocracy, theocracy, imperialism, not to mention torture and indefinite detention? Is it really the lesser of two evils?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Tony, you make it sound like Democrats are better than Republicans, when the truth is they both suck.

  • $||

    The national debt will be 101% of GDP next year, thanks almost entirely to the Democratic President and Congress. The highest the debt reached under a Republican administration was 70% of GDP. That same group just nationalized student loans. They have also:

    1. Taken over the automobile industry
    2. Take over the health insurnace industry
    3. Taken over the financial industry.
    (though none darest call it socialism!)

    Their next target is to strongarm banks into reducing the payments for the irresponsible.

    We see, now, that this current Administration and its sycophants in Congress have one thing in mind: punishing the responsible to reward the irresponsible.

    And on civil liberties? This President has not closed Guantanamo, is going to return to military trials for terrorism suspects (when civilian trials would be too risky, that is), has continued DEA raids on state-legal marijuana clinics, has not closed the 'revolving door' of lobbyists (indeed, they were hiring them on day one)...

    Need I go on? I have no use for Republicans, but it is a damn ugly site to see a grown man suck up to a pack of assholes who are so demonstrably bad for the Republic that they may as well be Huns.

    In short: fuck you, Tony.

  • freeforall232||

    @$ - Let's not forget it was a majority of Republicans in Congress and a Republican president who voted to create the Troubled Asset Relief Program that has essentially allowed the government takeover of those industries on your list.

    If Obama is driving us off the proverbial cliff, it's the Republicans that gave him the fuel.

  • $||

    Relevance?

  • freeforall232||

    It sounded like you were trying to say that just because Republicans increased the debt to 70% of the GDP, they had no fault in our current mess or were somehow a better option than Democrats.

    I just wanted to clarify that Republicans actually have a larger share of the fault for our current mess because of the programs they created while they were in power.

  • $||

    Except...they do not. But other than that, you are good to go.

    Off the top of my head, I believe that Bush raised the debt from 55/60 to 70% of GDP. In the first two years of the current Administration, it is expected to jump 30% from 2008 levels.

    Also, you act as if those programs cannot be undone or unfunded. Democrats have made an active choice to not only continue bad Republican policies, but to compound those already terrible mistakes and turn it into a financial crisis of epic proportions.

  • ||

    Well, if you want to play that card fairly, you're going to have to blame Democrats for most of the current budget crisis: they were responsible for Social Security, Fannie and Freddie, and Medicare. So Republicans come out ahead overall.

  • ||

    I see you took your partisan stupid pills this morning. A GOP president with Dems in control of both houses passed TARP in 2008. House Republicans rebelled temporarily derailing the steamroller (mixed metaphor, live with it) and had to be bribed into supporting it.

    It was less than two fucking years ago, for chrissakes.

  • ||

    ""If Obama is driving us off the proverbial cliff, it's the Republicans that gave him the fuel.""

    After 8 years of Bush, I agree the republicans gave them some fuel. But hey, just becase the car has a full tank of gas isn't an excuse to drive it off a cliff.

  • ||

    ""If Obama is driving us off the proverbial cliff, it's the Republicans that gave him the fuel.""

    Interesting analogy.

    The speed limit in my neighborhood is 25 mph. Some people choose to go through at around 40 mph, even though it's windy, hilly roads with kids and old folks present. I don't like it, but I tolerate it. Perhaps I shouldn't.

    But by the logic of those who defend Obama and the Democrats' gross irresponsibility I have no business complaining when some jackass tears through the neighborhood going 70 mph.

    Brilliant.

  • ||

    Actually, the Democrats were in charge of Congress in 2008 when TARP was passed. Bush should have vetoed it.

  • ||

    Yeah I'm so glad that Treasury is making a profit off it's crime! That fills me with so much joy!

    Keep on voting for the party that nationalized:

    BANKS
    AUTOS
    HEALTHCARE
    ...

    What do they call it when the government controls industry?

    GOP is not perfect but I will hold my nose and vote for a bible thumper if he/she will stop spending...

    Give us the power to decide with our own money.

  • freeforall232||

    @DJ - Could you come up with a few examples of Republicans cutting spending?

  • $||

    Entitlement reform is pretty much all that matters any more when it comes to spending, and only one party has even approached that subject. The other one keeps adding to the looming entitlement disaster.

    Oh, and also: Chris Christie.

  • freeforall232||

    @$ - "...only one party has even approached that subject..." Just to be clear, do you mean the Libertarian Party? I have experienced both Republican and Democrat Parties adding to the entitlement disaster...

  • $||

    Just so this does not go down your personal memory hole

    I have heard good things from Jeff Flake (TARP voter, I know), Paul Ryan (ditto), Ron and Rand Paul...I could go on. Honestly, there is one party that is at least willing to breach the subject of fiscal responsibility, but the American public wants its goodies...and it wants them without cost. Unfortunately, Republicans lack the spine to tell them "No".

  • ||

    "I have heard good things from Jeff Flake (TARP voter, I know)"

    I'm pretty sure Flake, unlike Ryan, voted against all of the bailouts. I have Ryan as a 'yea' and Flake as a 'nay' on HR 1424 and any other ones involving bailouts I can find.

  • ||

    I realize that Republicans did not cut spending...

    But when the Democrats took over they began to spend at x2 the rate...

    & Obama has been even worse than Bush has already spent more than EVERY OTHER PRESIDENT in the history of this the country!

    BUT NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE... because Bush was bad? Ummm logic?

    Like I said, I don't care if some GOP candidate might be a "bible-thumper" or something... just cut spending.

    It's simple math let me keep my effing money.

  • freeforall232||

    @DJ - "I realize that Republicans did not cut spending..."

    Even though pretty much every election cycle they say they will. Why do you keep believing them?

  • ||

    ""Keep on voting for the party that nationalized:

    BANKS
    AUTOS
    HEALTHCARE
    ""

    None of the above have been nationalized. If you wonder what nationalization really looks like, look at Chavez and the oil companies.

  • Jordan||

    --the spending necessary to prevent a depression that began in the last administration.

    You are completely incapable of proving this. Not only that, but economic conditions now are even worse than those predicted under the Obama Administration's worst case scenario. This spending accomplished nothing aside from sending the deficit to stratospheric levels.

  • EvilBane||

    Stop voting for evils, lesser or otherwise.

    Show the Big Two Parties that their deepening corruption will actually lose them supporters, rather than just continue the ping-pong of supporters between them.

    Vote for someone else. And don't be sheep enough to believe that there isn't anyone else.

    The other parties only have a chance to help if enough people actually start voting for them.

    In the meantime, enjoy the continuing ping-pong between evils...

  • ||

    Does it help to know that the treasury is actually making a profit on some of its bank bailouts?

    But will the UAW give back it's cut?
    Somehow I doubt it.

  • ||

    Well it might help if any of it were true. So, no, not really, not in this reality.

  • Steve Smith||

    STORM IN THAT PICTURE HAS INVITING, FLUFFY WHITE HOLE. STEVE RAPE HURRICANE NEXT.

  • ||

    There are no words for your depravity, Steve. None.

  • Black Hole||

    RACIST!

  • Jamie Kelly||

    Wait. What if I decline the insurance coverage I get at work? Can I do that?

  • ||

    But there's no serious enforcement mechanism allowing the IRS to make sure those penalties get paid?

    As noted, for most supporters of this law, that is a feature, not a bug, as they have no objection to a death spiral destroying the health care system.

    That said, there is nothing preventing the IRS from attributing any income tax you do pay first to your health care penalty, and using the full enforcement powers to go after the resulting shortfall in your regular ol' income tax.

  • ||

    Well, except that everyone and his brother will make sure they slightly underpay their taxes each year. Possibly by a smidge over the HI penalty, ha ha gents. Thus removing a nice source of income for the Feds, the kiting of all those refunds. Smooth move, Democrats!

  • Warty||

    Later, dudes. I'm off to drop my insurance.

  • ||

    I think that giving enforcement of this to the IRS was once of the best gifts that they could have given their opponents.

    Things will have to get worse before they get better, though.

  • ||

    ""I think that giving enforcement of this to the IRS was once of the best gifts that they could have given their opponents.""

    Other than giving their health care rules to their opponent.

    Ask a liberal if they want a republican in charge of their health care. They are so struck with Obama love they fail to see the future.

  • Some Guy||

    As someone whose employer automatically puts a large chunk of my compensation towards health insurance whether I want it or not, the math works out for me to keep my insurance. But if I had to pay it all out-of-pocket, you bet your ass I'd be canceling my policy on 1/1/14 (barring any condition coming into existence between now and then.)

  • The Gobbler||

    End The Insurance Draft NOW!

  • ||

    Insurance companies do know how to lobby. So what happened?

  • hmm||

    "Death spiral" is such a fucking kool term. The sad thing is the way things are going this will be known as a death spiral before long.

  • ||

    Great SITE for Documentaries check it out,

    http://freeviewdocumentaries.com

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    I'm a Democrat and will be the first to admit this is a lousy bill...but I'm glad they passed it nevertheless, because it will eventually lead to single payer which is what we need.

  • ||

    How's the ball cancer? Still pissed that Brian Boitano has a song dedicated to him and none for you?

  • Brian Boitano||

    I'd make a plan (to repeal this shit ASAP) and follow through, that's what I'd do.

  • Some Guy||

    If you had a friend who was having some medical problems you thought he should get checked out, would you shoot him in the leg to make him go to the hospital?

  • ||

    Although that faction of libertarians who have claimed that "maybe this excess of socialism will lead to a backlash and be better in the end" don't have a lot of room to throw stones on this issue.

  • ||

    ""If you had a friend who was having some medical problems you thought he should get checked out, would you shoot him in the leg to make him go to the hospital?""

    How bad are the problems?

  • Jamie Kelly||

    "this is a lousy bill" and "I'm glad they passed it."
    Scotch, you dumb cunt, you are exactly everything wrong with American politics and the American polity.

  • ||

    I'm a libertarian and will be the first to admit this is a lousy bill...but I'm glad they passed it nevertheless, because it will eventually lead to a complete rejection of govt. interference in health care which is what we need.

  • ||

    Aaaaand, now we have a tie for the gold medal between matth and Brain Boitano.

  • ||

    Just because the penalties are not codified, it doesn't mean that penalties won't be enforced. It just leaves that part to the discretion of the agency. You guys seem to be ignorant on how government works. Codes would be immeasurably thicker if every single line of law has a penalty attached to it. I'm currently dealing with a zoning department which told me to ignore certain parts of the code because they're "not suppose to be there". This is common practice in all local agencies.

  • Joe Kristan||

    No, it doesn't. The HCR statute itself rules out the application of the penalties. IRS doesn't get to trump statute, as much as they try sometimes.

  • ||

    I agree the IRS can make your life hell for not paying it, but they also have to consider the legal challenges if they do go balls out to enforce this thing. You just know the tax lawyers out there will use HCR as a challenge to keep their clients from paying the fine. Still, I suspect a shit load of people will pay the fine anyway. The thing is, that just means more money to the government, but doesn't do anything to prevent the insurance death spiral.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    I'm a Democrat and will be the first to admit this is a lousy bill...but I'm glad they passed it nevertheless, because it will eventually lead to single payer which is what we need.

    You won't get single-payer. The Money got what it wanted already - captive customers and guaranteed revenue - and it's not giving up. The Democratic Party belongs to The Money, just like the Republicans, and the Dems aren't about to cut their owners' revenue streams.

    you = sucker

  • cynical||

    I think the money may have overplayed its hand then. The system isn't stable without introducing market pressures on actual medical services (especially non-emergency services). Insurance companies are toast with the new regs, mandate or no.

  • HealthJedi||

    Insurance companies/industry = Trade Federation.

    President Obama = Senator Palpatine.

  • Soonerliberty||

    It is the great irony of liberal progressive ideology that they need an unholy alliance with bankers, corporations, and the Treasury to finance their utopia. How could they fund an unfundable system without confiscatory taxation, inflationary printing of money (monetizing debt), and borrowing? They couldn't, which makes them the biggest hypocrites the world has ever seen. It's all smoke and mirrors. "Hey, rich people are evil" (behind the scenes: "Hey, go ahead and keep fractional reserve banking going, Ben. Oh, and don't forget to print more dollar bills to pay for out utopia.")

  • Jersey Patriot||

    There's a reason Prof. Gabriel Kolko called the Progressive Era The Triumph of Conservatism.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Enforcement of the mandate isn't going to make everyone buy insurance, anyway. The fine is going to be way less than paying insurance premiums.

  • Dr Duck||

    Leaving aside the rightness of the bill, etc, it seems like there's a practical way to deal with people trying to game the system by not buying insurance until they need care.

    Make it a condition for receiving any benefit from an insurance policy, that the insured must first pay any premiums that would have been due, from the date of this bill until the point of becoming insured (less any statutory penalties already assessed).

    Hmmm?

  • ||

    Make it a condition for receiving any benefit from an insurance policy, that the insured must first pay any premiums that would have been due, from the date of this bill until the point of becoming insured (less any statutory penalties already assessed).

    Interesting idea, but it will never fly politically. Someone didn't care insurance until they got sick and lost their job, and now they suddenly owe years and year in premia, in addition to whatever co-payment or their share after the insurance is? That's exactly the kind of sob story that this bill is supposed to prevent in the minds of those who passed it.

  • ||

    ""Make it a condition for receiving any benefit from an insurance policy, that the insured must first pay any premiums that would have been due, from the date of this bill until the point of becoming insured (less any statutory penalties already assessed).""

    And if not, deny them service if they can't pay?

  • Dr Duck||

    If you like. I was thinking more like, it becomes part of the debt they owe, and can be treated like any other debt: paid, forgiven, discharged in bankruptcy, etc.

  • ||

    So a whole new health care bill that if passed will cost many Americans thousands of dollars. Yeah, that'll work. I do hope the Democrats press for such a thing, though. That would be great going into 2012.

  • ||

    Democrats are going to OWN this bill. And when it eventually destroys the insurance market. The public is NOT going to turn to them to implemnt single payer. The Democrats will lose their majority.
    If they couldn't get single payer with filibuster proof majorities in both houses and a Democratic president, maliciously destroying the insurance market isn't going to get them there either.

  • ||

    ""Democrats are going to OWN this bill.""

    That's won't be the case for long. At some point the republicans will pass fixes and have their name on it too.

  • Some Guy||

    In 2040 the Democrats will try to put in single payer and the Tea Party (the GOP renamed) will talk about how this new system we just passed is the greatest in the world, and will rage about the Democrats attempted "takeover" of 1/3 of the economy. They'll run attack ads on anyone who opposes this system.

  • ||

    Wow, predicting attack ads. Your psychic prowess is astounding.

  • ||

    Proving once again that we have idiots for legislators. I've been saying this to anyone who'd listen (and many who didn't want to) since the debate began. Morons could probably write better legislation.

  • ||

    I doubt it, Butch. Apparently, morons wrote (or at least voted on) this legislation.

  • ||

    My answer is to vote incumbents out.

    These slime wil do the same crap over and over until they understand the meaning of public service.

    Just capitalizing that morons could do better.

    Freshmen in Congress, that many, would not Hirt anything.

    It would jus send the message to quit fing around or your fired.

  • ||

    Congress loves taxes
    On law abiding people,
    While criminals skate.

    They like them because
    They are criminals themselves,
    And will not pay them.

  • ||

    Congress loves taxes
    On law abiding people,
    While criminals skate.

    They like them because
    They are criminals themselves,
    And are champion skaters.

  • ||

    It's worse than that. The penalties for not having insurance are far less than the cost of insurance. The cost for having no insurance for employees is less than for not having "affordable" insurance.

    This is no accident.

  • ||

    I realize this article and blog are focused on the IRS and the fines for not having insurance but the BIGGER concern is the increase in TAXES to pay for HCR mess. Taxes on indoor tanning, increase in Medicare withholding, not renewing the Bush tax cuts. Hell not to mention all the increase in costs being passed onto the consumer. This is all shit you CANT write off and will pay, and will be recovered by the IRS! Who gives a shit about a fine for not carrying healthcare insurance.

  • ||

    So the Democrats' idea of health insurance reform is to change America into a nation of freeloaders and scofflaws. Together with granting blanket amnesty to illegals, the Democrats' true agenda is revealed: Manufacture an electorate that will grant them perpetual majorities in Congress no matter what they do.

  • ||

    This "feature" of the program will work exactly as intended. The Death Spiral will not begin for several years and at that point, the proletariat will demand a solution. The insurance companies will be thoroughly destroyed and the only solution left will be the complete nationalization of the health care system. Voila! Singla payer. It is a brilliant strategy, except for the loss of constitutional government and liberty. I guess those are to be considered collateral damage.

  • ||

    Sure, in the fullness of time the proletariat may well demand a solution to the Death Spiral. Only problem is, that solution may instead be another revolution.

    Actions have consequences, whether they're intended or not.

  • ||

    They'll let people who don't want to buy insurance run up a tab, call them deadbeats, cheats etc., and *then* unleash the hounds. The lack of teeth is just a temporary sales gimmick.

  • TallDave||

    Wait! It just got even better!

    It turns out you can claim a "religious conscience" exemption from the individual mandate. (link failed)

    So you can just join the Church of Latter-Day Minarchists and get a free pass anyways.

  • ||

    Of course, in this game of hot-potato, it's going to be us that have to bear the risk. Those insurance execs deserve our premiums because they're better people than us.

    There are huge problems with forcing people to buy anything in a free economy. You'd have to find a point where a risk-neutral decision maker is ambivalent between buying insurance and paying the fine. Of course here, the quality of what is bought decreases as fines increase, since there's a constant stream of revenue from the people who are just buying to avoid the fine. For a lot of young people, the break even point would be where insurance has almost no net value.

    Too many people have been saying things like this about the mandate. We're only being ignored because we don't have more money.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Insurance Companies deserve the Death Spiral.

    I know a lot of Libertarians are against regulations and believe that the free market will cure all if insurance was completely unregulated. This is simply not true (in my opinion ONLY) due to the fact that the free market for health insurance existed way before the regulations. It's just that insurance companies would collect premiums and not make good on the claims (acting like a bunch of crooks...and not business people). I know libertarians feel that we would be better off without regulations and just suing the insurance companies. However, most people don't have the time nor the money to win. And, since the insurance company is careful in doing this to only a few people, most of the healthy people will have a 'this will not happen to me' attituge (as we can see from americans on tv today that are happy with their healthcare plans).

  • ||

    It cannot be enforced.
    Tge only thing the IRS can do is withhold it
    from a return.
    If the gov is owed money the IRS can do that.
    If is the key word. Not all insurance will be gov.
    People paying the penalty will
    most likely be the people that don't have insurance now. The ones Reagan let be ok with.
    Emergency Medical and Active Labor Act.

  • ||

    The smartest move is to just pay the fine, which is a pittance to any premium you would pay. As it is written you can sign up for it if you are having a coronary as of right now. I don't see the problem in that for that is what I expect to do. But no, I don't like the idea to be coerced into buying anything. But then again, I deliberately retired at 56 to make sure my only income was savings and ira when this thing goes down in 2014. Meanwhile I'll keep walking 8-10 miles a day and kicking a football in an open field up to 150 times, chasing it down each time on average 50 yards per punt, and keep eating my broccoli and brussel sprouts, raisins, walnuts, and blueberries.

  • ||

    Watch millions drop their coverage so they don't get stuck with the tab for uninsured who wait until they get sick to sign up.

    Private insurance in this country is on the edge of a precipice and Obama is doing all he can to give them the final push so he can complete his statist agenda.

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