Home > posts > ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate Paradox: Penalize the Poor, or Watch Costs Skyrocket
March 30th, 2010 10:03 am
ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate Paradox: Penalize the Poor, or Watch Costs Skyrocket
Posted by Print

Welcome to the ObamaCare hangover, America.

In his weekly Main Street column entitled “The Tax Police and the Health Care Mandate,” Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn points out a malignant paradox within ObamaCare.  Namely, that ObmaCare’s infamous individual mandate (which compels uninsured Americans to suddenly purchase insurance under penalty of prosecution) will have one of two consequences.  It will either (1) penalize poorer Americans who fail – or find themselves unable – to purchase insurance by unleashing a horde of IRS enforcers upon them;  or, alternatively, (2) remain lightly enforced in order to avoid punishing the poor, thereby escalating our collective taxpayer cost into the stratosphere.

The rationale behind the individual mandate, of course, is that many of ObamaCare’s provisions, such as forcing insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions, would make its total cost unaffordable unless healthier and younger uninsured Americans were required to buy coverage.  McGurn notes that Obama was against this individual mandate before he was for it, opposing it during the 2008 Democrat primaries against Hillary Clinton, but unsurprisingly inserting it into ObamaCare’s provisions later on.  Nevertheless, enforcing the individual mandate will require new legions of IRS agents to target Americans who refuse to either purchase insurance or pay the federal tax penalty.

Which creates the paradox.  Those who consider themselves too poor to buy insurance today may still feel that way even when ObamaCare’s mandate is imposed, in which case they’ll find themselves the targets of the IRS.  If, however, federal bureaucrats in their famed mercy refrain from enforcing ObamaCare’s individual mandate in order to avoid persecuting poorer Americans (just as they do not penalize failure to return census forms), the total cost of ObamaCare will far exceed what its proponents promised us while they shoved it up our…  noses.

Nancy Pelosi was right about one thing, though.  We’re sure finding out a lot about ObamaCare now that it’s passed.

Comments are closed.