Individual Mandate Policy Patient Protection Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1307 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Healthcare

The individual mandate is thus designed to make the healthcare system fairer even for persons who are currently covered under employer-provided insurance. The costs to them because of the systemic inequalities in the system are considerable as well -- for example, uninsured Americans received care in excess of 57.4 billion in 2008, resulting in the need for health insurers to raise premiums to cover the cost (Tanden & Spiro 2012:1). At present, healthcare costs today account for 17% of the U.S. GDP and "the average family pays an additional $1,000 annually in the form of higher premiums to subsidize the costs incurred by those who receive care but do not carry insurance. The mandate is an indispensable tool for achieving the government's compelling goals of universal coverage and lower costs" (Why the individual mandate matters so much, 2012, The Washington Post).

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Another attempt to expand the risk pool includes the provision that young adults up to the age of twenty-six are allowed to remain on their parents' health insurance, which infuses the 'risk pool' with healthier, younger individuals. "This reform has already had a significant impact, covering an additional 2.5 million young adults. In 2014, more than 90% of young people enrolling through exchanges will be eligible for premium tax credits. In addition, young adults under the age of 30 will be able to enroll in a low-cost catastrophic plan" (Tanden & Spiro 2012:11). Because of the recent recession, many young people who would have ordinarily found work with employer-provided insurance have not; allowing them to remain on their parent's healthcare plan has become one of the most popular components of the Affordable Care Act, but without the provisions of the individual mandate it too would likely be impossible to sustain.

Term Paper on Individual Mandate Policy Patient Protection Assignment

However, the provisions of enforcement of the penalty, once the individual mandate takes effect are unclear. "And what happens if you don't buy insurance and you don't pay the penalty? Well, not much. The law specifically says that no criminal action or liens can be imposed on people who don't pay the fine. If this actually leads to a world in which large numbers of people don't buy insurance and tell the IRS to stuff it, you could see that change. But for now, the penalties are low and the enforcement is non-existent" (Klein 2010).

Critics of the bill note that the penalty is still too modest for consumers determined not to buy insurance. "You could pay the penalty for five years and then buy insurance the day you felt a lump" (Klein 2010). Also, even if the individual technically must buy coverage for him or herself under the law, "the individual may claim an exemption due to financial hardship" (Tanden & Spiro 2012: 7-8). As a point of contrast, in the state of Massachusetts, which enacted a similar individual mandate on a state level "the penalty for not having qualified insurance is 50% of the amount that an individual would pay for the lowest-cost plan after taking into account any premium subsidy"(Tanden & Spiro 2012: 8).

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the mandate was a historic decision in our nation's history. Although President Obama's opponent Mitt Romney has vowed to overturn the mandate if he is elected, it is ironic that the model for the proposed reform was actually modeled upon Governor Romney's own mandate in Massachusetts. Regardless, the individual mandate is the lynchpin for the entire system for proposed reform. Without the individual mandate, the risk pool of healthy individuals will not be large enough to support a healthcare system that now barred discrimination against preexisting conditions.


Klein, Ezra. (2010). How does the individual mandate work? The Washington Post. Retrieved:

Tanden, Neera & Topher Spiro. (2012). The case for the individual mandate in health care reform. American Progress. Retrieved:

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How to Cite "Individual Mandate Policy Patient Protection" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Individual Mandate Policy Patient Protection.  (2012, July 2).  Retrieved December 4, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Individual Mandate Policy Patient Protection."  2 July 2012.  Web.  4 December 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Individual Mandate Policy Patient Protection."  July 2, 2012.  Accessed December 4, 2020.