If Health Care Reform is to succeed, it is important and necessary to bring down premium cost. The most effective way to do this was to have a Public Option. The idea here, was to have another force where Private Insurance would have to compete against. It’s the capitalist way – you increase competition, prices falls to get more business, the public gets the benefit of paying less.
The Public Option was dropped in the Senate bill, in an effort to get Republican votes. Those votes never materialized.
The other obvious way to bring down costs, is an unpopular one. The individual mandate used in an Insurance Exchange. If you’re bringing in an additional 31 million people into the market and they’re all required to have insurance, that’s a huge purchasing power. Different companies will compete to get this additional business. Of course, in additional to the individual mandate, basic across the board government regulations will have to be in place to make sure Insurance companies follow one set of rules to work in this exchange.
The idea of an Insurance Exchange came from the Republicans. The idea of individual mandates, however, also came from Republicans. What? Republicans proposed the idea of Individual mandates? But that can’t be… They’re all against the individual mandate!
Back in the late 1980′s, a conservative by the name of Mark Purley, a health economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School along with a group of Economists came up with the idea to give to then President George Bush Sr. Bush at the time, wanted ideas on how to stem the rising cost of Insurance premiums, and the Individual mandate was a better way for these conservatives to get insurance to the masses, while protecting businesses in the process.
When President Clinton tried his version of Health Care Reform back in 1993, his bill had an Employer mandate. As it’s name suggest, the Employer mandate simply required that all employer provided insurance, or access to health insurance coverage for their employees. Republicans, in their unending effort to protect businesses over individuals, insisted that businesses should not be mandated to provide insurance. Their claim back then and now, is that insurance is an individual responsibility. Instead of mandating employers, Republicans suggested mandating individuals.
Sen.Orrin Hatch, (R-UT) says about the Individual Mandate;
“Congress has never crossed the line between regulating what people choose to do and ordering them to do it. The difference between regulating and requiring is liberty.”
What Orrin Hatch fails to add is that he was one of 20 other Republicans who were for the Individual Mandate back in the 90′s. Along with Hatch, other present GOP members of congress were for the individual mandate. They are Charles Grassley of Iowa, Robert Bennett of Utah and Christopher Bond of Missouri.
The Individual Mandate. Good enough for GOP in 1993, but something they’re strongly against in 2010!
They were for it, before they were against it. Politics As Usual.