Posts Tagged ‘Greg Dattilo’
November 25th, 2009 at 12:31 pm
Government Mandates and Health Care
Posted by Print

Much has been made about the proposed federal mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance.  Some have called this mandate unconstitutional since the only constitutional justification could be the interstate commerce clause in Article I.

Since standing around and not purchasing health care is hardly an act of interstate commerce, critics make a good point.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) went one step further in its criticism of the mandate in 1994 when it noted that the individual mandate was “an unprecedented form of federal action.  The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.”

This year, Greg Dattilo and Dave Racer conducted a study of state and federal mandates.  The results aren’t too surprising when you consider that most government action fails to achieve the desired result, or leads to unintended consequences that harm other sectors of the economy.

For example, auto insurance is mandatory in 47 states but the uninsured rate has held steady at 14.6 percent.  In addition, the federal income tax is of course mandatory, but the non-compliance rate is still 14.7 percent.  These individuals are all law breakers, to be sure, but mandating something doesn’t make it so.

I would propose a government mandate on happiness, prosperity and full employment.  That could solve a lot of problems.  Perhaps a government mandate on earning at least $30,000 a year?  The way the FED is printing money, that should be no problem.  Maybe a government mandate for universal chocolate chip cookie access and subsequent ban on diabetes?

Racer and Dattilo conclude:

If the goals of health reform are to reduce the uninsured rate, increase access to health care, and improve quality, forcing more people to sign up for health plans is not the answer.  The CBO makes it very clear; people who are forced to own health insurance will, as a result, use more health services.  That will increase overall health spending, put stress on the supply of health care services (reducing access) and not make a dent in quality.