“Public Option” vs “Individual Mandate” Poll

Michael F. Cannon of National Review Online wrote a crushing piece entitled “The $1.5 Trillion Fraud.”  He argues that while the “Public Option” is bad, the “Individual Mandate” is by far the worst part of the Pelosi Bill.  The loss of our personal liberty is well know.  The federal government would force us to purchase a product or face $250,000 fines and 5 years in federal prison.

What is less well know are the hidden financial costs in the legislation caused by this mandate.  Here in Massachusetts we have a similar system with an individual mandate.  According to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation only 40% of our costs are on budget spending while 60% of our costs are hidden in the costs of mandatory premiums!  Similarly the CBO does not include these costs in it’s estimate.

The centerpiece of the bills currently under consideration is not the “public option,” but the “individual mandate” – a legal requirement that all U.S. residents purchase health insurance, on penalty of fines and/or imprisonment.

The CBO describes an individual mandate as “an unprecedented form of federal action” whose closest analogue in federal law is the draft. But as President Obama told a joint session of Congress, the rest of the legislation won’t work unless the federal government forces Americans to purchase health insurance.

President Clinton’s ill-fated health plan had an individual mandate, too. Back in 1994, the CBO decided that since “the mandatory premiums . . . would constitute an exercise of sovereign power,” the agency would treat all premiums as federal revenues, including them in the federal budget.


Why don’t we hear more about this?  Perhaps one reason is that the supposed standard bearer of conservatism Mitt Romney championed this legislation into law.  Virtually every member of our Republican caucus on Beacon Hill voted for it too.  Representatives Daniel Webster and Jeff Perry thankfully did not.

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About Mike "DD4RP" Rossettie