3326.0 Individual Mandates to Buy Health Insurance: The Emperor Has No Clothes

Monday, November 5, 2007: 2:30 PM
The hottest recent development in health aimed at covering the uninsured is the individual mandate – requiring residents of a state to buy their own health insurance. The basic rationale for this policy is that if employers, individuals, and the government in a state combine to share health insurance costs, then there would be adequate resources to cover nearly everyone. Massachusetts has enacted such a policy and its implementation is underway. California is the next state to have seriously considered it. If this “shared responsibility” model works in these states, then it would have to be seriously considered as the mainstream national policy for the uninsured in the wake of the 2008 elections. But, it is not clear that the finances underlying these proposals work. They do little to account for health care cost inflation and there is little in the proposals to abate it. They assume that low-income residents have income adequate to pay a substantial portion of the health insurance premiums. They assume federal revenues will provide support to make the plans solvent. This session will examine these claims and consider the implications of this policy for state and national health policy.
Session Objectives: Describe the elements of individual mandates that affect affordability and sustainability. Describe ways in which these proposals may be underfinanced. Describe alternatives to individual mandate for covering the uninsured.

3:00 PM

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Organized by: Health Equity and Public Hospitals Caucus

CE Credits: CME, Health Education (CHES), Nursing