Out of morbid curiosity, I looked at the Presidents new health care proposal. I wanted to know if the word “mandate” was used in the proposal. Mandate is in there, but it’s not used in the portion describing what the cost is to each person. If you choose to remain uninsured you have to make a payment. In other words, buying health insurance isn’t mandatory, but paying for it is mandatory.
There are other carefully chosen words and phrases in this proposal, like the very first line:
The President’s Proposal puts American families and small business owners in control of their own health care.
Taking away control of choosing to purchase health insurance now puts you in control of health insurance. Just as forcing everyone to purchase a fitness club membership (or make a payment if they choose to remain unfit) puts them in control of their fitness. You will now be in control, except when you aren’t.
Health care costs are described as inevitable as in “make a payment to offset the cost of care they will inevitably need.” Using life insurance is inevitable; using health care insurance is not inevitable. Even using catastrophic health insurance is not inevitable. Not everyone will have an accident and not everyone spends the last year of their life under medical care.
The part titled Improve Individual Responsibility has two paragraphs covering the cost to each person; the cost is not described as a tax, fine, or a penalty. The choice of words to describe the cost is payment, alternative payment and assessment. It’s not a tax, fine, or a penalty; it’s simply a transfer of money from you to your government, and anyone who says otherwise is just itching for a fight.
The proposal mentions curbing insurance company abuses. Its pretty low when insurance contracts have ambiguous, difficult to decipher, or hidden intentions. I’m assuming thats what the President means abuses along the lines of technical language the layperson doesn’t understand or adding hidden meanings, terms, conditions, or unexpressed intentions. Only a lowlife like an insurance company would stoop to those shady tactics.
Below are the two paragraphs covering the transfer of wealth.
Improve Individual Responsibility. All Americans should have affordable health insurance coverage. This helps everyone, both insured and uninsured, by reducing cost shifting, where people with insurance end up covering the inevitable health care costs of the uninsured, and making possible robust health insurance reforms that will curb insurance company abuses and increase the security and stability of health insurance for all Americans. The House and Senate bills require individuals who have affordable options but who choose to remain uninsured to make a payment to offset the cost of care they will inevitably need. The House bill’s payment is a percentage of income. The Senate sets the payment as a flat dollar amount or percentage of income, whichever is higher (although not higher than the lowest premium in the area). Both the House and Senate bill provide a low-income exemption, for those individuals with incomes below the tax filing threshold (House) or below the poverty threshold (Senate).The Senate also includes a “hardship” exemption for people who cannot afford insurance, included in the President’s Proposal. It protects those who would face premiums of more than 8 percent of their income from having to pay any assessment and they can purchase a low-cost catastrophic plan in the exchange if they choose.
The President’s Proposal adopts the Senate approach but lowers the flat dollar assessments, and raises the percent of income assessment that individuals pay if they choose not to become insured. Specifically, it lowers the flat dollar amounts from $495 to $325 in 2015 and $750 to $695 in 2016. Subsequent years are indexed to $695 rather than $750, so the flat dollar amounts in later years are lower than the Senate bill as well. The President’s Proposal raises the percent of income that is an alternative payment amount from 0.5 to 1.0% in 2014, 1.0 to 2.0% in 2015, and 2.0 to 2.5% for 2016 and subsequent years – the same percent of income as in the House bill, which makes the assessment more progressive. For ease of administration, the President’s Proposal changes the payment exemption from the Senate policy (individuals with income below the poverty threshold) to individuals with income below the tax filing threshold (the House policy). In other words, a married couple with income below $18,700 will not have to pay the assessment. The President’s Proposal also adopts the Senate’s “hardship” exemption.