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Tuesday, 29th September 2009

All the President's Mandates: Compulsory Health Insurance Is a Government Takeover

All the President's Mandates: Compulsory Health Insurance Is a Government Takeover
Source: Cato Institute

The most hazardous health reform measure before Congress is not the so-called "public option," but proposals to make health insurance compulsory via an individual or employer mandate.

Compulsory health insurance could require nearly 100 million Americans to switch to a more expensive health plan and would therefore violate President Barack Obama's pledge to let people keep their current health insurance. In particular, the legislation before Congress could eliminate many or all health savings account plans. Making health insurance compulsory would also spark an unnecessary fight over abortion and would enable government to ration care to those with private health insurance.

Obama adviser Larry Summers writes that mandates "are like public programs financed by benefit taxes," meaning that compulsory health insurance would also violate President Obama's promise not to increase taxes on the middle class. Under the House Democrats' legislation, some middle-income earners would face marginal tax rates over 50 percent (before state taxes).

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