Democrat Proposes To End Individual Mandate

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JONATHAN CHAIT FEBRUARY 3, 2011

Democrat Proposes To End Individual Mandate

Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has a proposal to accommodate the philosophical and legal objections to the individual mandate while still fulfilling the core objective of preventing people from free-riding on the regulated insurance market:

Defazio (D-OR) proposes that people be allowed to opt out of the insurance mandate altogether -- but if they do, they will not be allowed to free-ride on the new health care system.

Under his plan, a person opting out "must file an 'affidavit of personal responsibility' with the state exchange. Such a filing will waive their rights to: 1) Enroll in a health insurance exchange; 2) Enroll in Medicaid if otherwise made eligible; and 3) Discharge health care related debt under Chapter 7 bankruptcy law," DeFazio wrote in a letter to colleagues Tuesday.

Under his plan, if a person wants back into the system, they'd need to buy insurance on their own, out of pocket, for five years. The idea here, and with other, similar plans, is to moot one of the constitutional complaints about the mandate -- that it penalizes "inactivity."

Since those conservative objections are utterly sincere, I'm sure Republicans will be happy to join together to pass a law to eliminate the hated individual mandate and improve the health care law. This is about freedom, right?

Right?

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posted in: jonathan chait, peter defazio

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