A new RAND Corporation study concludes that eliminating a key part of health care reform that requires all Americans to have health insurance would sharply lower the number of people gaining coverage, but would not dramatically increase the cost of buying policies through new insurance exchanges.
The study comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in March regarding the constitutionality of the individual mandate, a key provision of 2010's Affordable Care Act.
Key points in the RAND Corporation press release include:
- According to estimates created using a microsimulation model created by the RAND Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts (COMPARE) program, the number of Americans predicted to get coverage in 2016 under the Affordable Care Act would drop from 27 million to 15 million if the individual mandate were eliminated.
- "Our analysis suggests eliminating the individual mandate would sharply decrease coverage, but it would not send premiums into a 'death spiral' that would make health insurance unaffordable to those who do not qualify for government subsidies," said Christine Eibner, the study's lead author and an economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.
- Another consequence of repealing the individual mandate would be a sharp increase in the amount of government spending for each person newly enrolled in a health insurance plan. Because most individuals who remain enrolled if the mandate is eliminated are eligible for significant government subsidies, government spending for those newly insured would more than double, rising to $7,468, according to the RAND Health study.
- "The individual mandate is critical not only to achieving near-universal health care coverage among Americans, but also to yielding a high value in terms of federal spending to expand coverage," Eibner said. "Without the individual mandate, the government would have to spend more overall to insure a lot fewer people."
For Network readers this is an important perspective to review to help more fully understand the importance of a mandate as a part of health care reform. Happy reading!