Whether you support or have issue with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate…I would hope you at least support stripping it out of the tax
reform cut legislation currently before Congress. Now the mandate says that every individual must have health insurance either through their employer, the ACA exchanges or through a private plan (plus Medicare or Medicaid). The thought behind it (and supported by the insurers) is the premiums paid by young people who are generally healthy will offset the costs to cover older people. If they don’t buy the insurance they pay a fine. I support the idea but unfortunately for many who fall beyond the income brackets that get premium support…the fines are cheaper than the cost of the insurance.
Now many in the GOP view the whole idea as vulgar…the government should never require anyone to buy a product (of course we could avoid that whole issue with single payer universal coverage…but that’s another story). So the mandate should be cancelled. And of course they couldn’t repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act in whole so now they stead a repeal of the individual mandate into the tax cut bill. And quite frankly it doesn’t belong there.
I don’t think it should be repealed but if you are going to repeal…put it up for a vote on its own. See where it goes…see if we get some lobbying action from the insurers.
But the convoluted thought process from the Republicans is that removing the individual mandate via the tax cut bill is the way to go…because it would lower taxes for those paying the fines rather than acquiring insurance. They are equating the fines as taxes…not quite.
Taxes are pretty much collected when you do something. You buy gasoline and pay the gasoline tax. Buy new shoes and pay the sales tax. You earn money and pay income tax, social security tax and medicare tax. You buy a house and pay property tax (although that is continual). You don’t buy health insurance you pay a fine. You don’t obey the law you pay a fine.
Congress might actually get a few more thing done…and get more bipartisan cooperation if bills contained just the items that belonged there. Then fewer people would have to hold their nose while voting for something…or vote against something that they generally agree with except for something odious and unrelated tagged onto the bill. If they try it they might actually like it.