Publisher's note: This post, by Brian Balfour, was originally published in the healthcare section of Civitas's online edition.
Heritage Foundation senior fellow Robert Moffit writes
about why the recent Senate vote to eliminate the Obamacare mandate requiring people to have health insurance or face a penalty was a "wise call."
Moffit disappointingly leaves out the most obvious argument - the immorality of government forcing people to buy a product - but he does present some interesting points:
- The individual mandate tax is not working. Its policy objective is to increase enrollment in private coverage and deter un-insurance.....but Medicaid expansion is responsible for coverage increases, not mandate-driven private insurance
- If the Senate tax reform bill passes, will there be 13 million fewer insured in the next 10 years, as the Congressional Budget Office projects? Or, will it be the far less dramatic 3 to 5 million estimated by the independent analysts with S&P Global? (T)he Congressional Budget Office's past predictive performance should inspire no confidence....The problem is that, since 2010, the Congressional Budget Office's coverage projections have been spectacularly wrong. In 2016, for example, it projected 21 million people would be enrolled in the exchanges, but the actual number was roughly 11.5 million
- Curiously, the tax is also profoundly regressive, falling on middle- to lower-income persons least able to absorb reductions in their disposable income. Based on the 2015 data, 79 percent of those who paid the tax penalty had annual incomes less the $50,000, while 37 percent of them had incomes less than $25,000
- As then-candidate Barack Obama said in 2008 in opposition to an insurance mandate: "If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house."