Thursday, December 30, 2010

Will Obamacare's Individual Health Coverage Mandate Survive Court Challenges? Holder Thinks So, but...

December 14, 2010, the day after a federal judge ruled against the individual mandate for coverage, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius wrote an opinion piece arguing, "Health reform will survive its legal fight," in the Washington Post.

But polls show that the mandate for individuals to get health insurance or face stiff financial penalties is proving to be a major part of the 2010 healthcare reform or overhaul that is highly unpopular.
A CNN poll earlier this week reported, "CNN Poll: Controversial health care provision unpopular:"
"According to the poll, six in ten oppose the requirement that all Americans get health insurance, with 38 percent saying they favor the provision."

This opposition can only worsen in the wake of Federal Judge Henry E. Hudson's (Virginia) striking down the health insurance mandate as unconstitutional.

The key is to frame the argument properly. The point needs to be disseminated, stronger and more widely, that health insurance is essential. Someone might not think that they need health care. But someday that surgery or other medical procedure, or hospital stay comes. Then, they owe 50,000 to 100,000 dollars.
The key is also to get the Americans and policy makers for that matter out of the myopic bubble of only looking at America. Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and others should have emphasized how other countries that have model health care systems also have health insurance mandates. As wikipedia informs us, It is a common legal requirement in many countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, and from 2014, the United States of America.

The public has reason to be angry at the powerful. The problem is that progressives have not been able to steer outrage at the proper targets: power-bloated abusive corporations and their lackey lobbyists and Demo-Republican politicians.
The failure for Democratic politicians to pursue a public option and instead, settle on the final form of the health care reform act, is the source of the problems with the discussion over Obamacare and problems with its fate.
There is no public entity (The public option) with which the private health corporations can compete, so as to hold back corporate chicanery in the form of price gouging of patients and prescription drug consumers. Advocates needed to have more vociferously pushed for the option, building coalitions, holding mass rallies. Instead, the health-care reform was an inside the Beltway affair. We can see this with the legislation's giveaway to the drug companies.
For a Huffington Post contribution on Obama's back-sliding away from the public option, see this Feb. 22 piece: "Obama Health Care Plan Drops Public Option."

(Obama first aired his support for the public option in September 2009, but some commentators, such as Ezra Klein in the Washington Post, have pointed to weaknesses in his push for the public option.)

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