The Public Health Care Option and Mandate to Purchase Health Insurance

Two of the major reforms being proposed in the health care package being debated by congress are the addition of a non-profit public health insurance option (which is NOT single payer and is NOT socialized health care) and mandating that everyone purchase health insurance, with a fine levied on those who fail to do so. The mandate for purchasing health insurance needs to be tied to the public option, and if the public option isn’t passed, the mandate to purchase must not be passed either.

I understand why the mandate is seen as a good idea. There are many people who are uninsured who will have their bills footed indirectly by taxpayers and those who do purchase health insurance, and by requiring other people to purchase insurance, we’ll be spreading the cost around more and asking them to contribute to the pool of money that will likely end up helping them or their families at some point in their lives.

Here’s the problem though: many of the people who do not purchase health insurance can not afford it. They simply haven’t found a way to earn enough money to do so. Fining people money they don’t have is not the way to help them get insurance or get on their feet. While I understand there is a system of tax credits in the work, such a system does sometimes render people who need help to make such purchases ineligible for help. See the recent fiasco with food stamp benefits for an idea of what I mean. If this were to happen with health insurance, it could deal some families a financial blow they can’t deal with. The public option would be another layer of protection to prevent this from happening with a mandate to purchase in place.

I know there are also talks of having insurance co-ops instead of having a public option. I don’t think co-ops can replace having a public option when it comes to providing affordable insurance to the largest number of people possible. I think they would be a great supplement to the public option and give people more choices in their plans to pick one that best suits their needs, but a non-profit will likely be most able to offer the most inexpensive insurance, which is what some people need.

I’ll be honest, on their own, I think the public option is a good idea, and the mandate to purchase is a bad idea. As a package though, having the public option and the mandate together is still quite good, and I’d be very happy with a bill that did include both. I just don’t want to see a mandate to purchase health insurance pass, then see families who can’t afford health insurance fined because the assistance system put in place to help them overlooked them.

As a final note, I’m no expert on health care, I’ve just been reading a lot about it lately. So, this is true to the best of my knowledge, but there is a lot of information and misinformation going around, and it really is difficult to pick the good out from the bad right now. I’ve also mentioned my biases about the two major topics, so you know where I’m coming from on this. In addition, the bill is still being hotly debated, is constantly changing, and different ideas seem to be going on and off the table all the time, so it’s hard to keep up with all the developments. I’ve tried to be accurate in my representation of what is being talked about, but I know that I may be missing some pieces, so feel free to add your own voice in the comments if need be.

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  • B.GreenFish66

    September 21st, 2009

    With no public Health care option ..(Under this newBaucus “backus”) bill .The weak and poor will be fined and forgotten ..It’s sad political B.S….It sickens me to watch this issue unfold anymore .

    . The abuse tax paying slave drones have to go through in America, is unconscionable /unbearable /disheartning/disgusting .It’s not only a sham but a shame .. Does America/your communitee /your neighbour care about you and yours in times of hardship ,when you need their assistance the most?..For better or worse ?

    Does Uncle sam want you !? …Apparently Only if your rich,healthy and have the $$$$ to pay for it…Otherwise you’ll be fined and left to suffer out on the street ,ignored ,washed away into the gutter ,where others will eventually ,unknowingly,drink and share, in the illness of your accumulated misfortune..

    How could one want to live in such a self absorbed culture …It is unsustainable /unimaginable to me….All will suffer for their non-compassionate , self centeredness … Should be ashamed U.S. politicians/ republican capitalists/ blind folded followers..Swallow your pride americans and give health care to all..It is the right thing to do..For the betterment of all/America as a whole…..

    Drop the commi/socialism B.S..I thought all lived in a democracy in America ..I can see clearly now that this is not the case..America is for the priveledged/greedy/self serving few who will take, but will not give ..Proudly they hold themselves high ..Lifted and bolstered up by standing on the heads of the poor, lost and forgotten.. …!…I thought you were different Obama ..Get a back bone buddy and Lead.Stand for what you believe in.. Give a voice to those who can not be heard .That’s what you were elected to do.!..

    Many great empires have fallen due to disease/famine /poverty ..Let history be your conscience..So we all can have faith/prosper into the future…I am passionate about health care for all(as you can tell)…I will never change my stance on health care for all.!..A public heatlh care plan has been tried , tested and found to be the best system for all .. ..It is the only true solution .

    There is no middle ground ,on health care, without a public plan … Only high ground and rising flood waters …Only with life boats, preservers and a plan can most/All be saved!.


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