In an editorial for Bloomberg today, Jonathon Cohn and David Strauss make an interesting and slightly bewildering case for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate- saying that it increases liberty. You are not alone in wondering how any sort of mandate can increase liberty.
Forcing individuals to purchase insurance was a political concession to the health insurance industry which will, as a result of Obama’s health care reform act, be prohibited from denying applicants or pricing coverage based on pre-existing conditions or health statuses beginning in 2014.
After sitting through dozens of talks on the Affordable Care Act and reading numerous articles and amicus briefs defending the individual mandate, I thought I’d heard it all- not so.
Apparently, according to Strauss and Cohn, the current dysfunctional insurance market undermines our liberty, as insurance companies have to exclude certain applicants and charge higher premiums to others. This limits Americans’ ability to switch jobs or start a business.
“Although this keeps insurers solvent, it excludes people who need insurance the most — in ways that limit their ability to participate fully as members of society,” they argue.
Do individuals have more job options after graduating with a college degree- yes. Would forcing Americans to go to college increase their liberty by increasing their career options- not necessarily.
Likewise, forcing individuals to purchase insurance as a cure to the limitations and dysfunctions of the current system is not the right answer. Not for individuals, not for the economy, and certainly not for liberty.