Getting rid of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) individual health insurance mandate could decrease the federal budget deficit while also decreasing the number of uninsured U.S. residents who get health coverage as a result of PPACA.
Jessica Banthin, a senior advisor at the Congressinal Budget Office (CBO), gave that assessment at a meeting focusing on the individual mandate that was organized by RAND Corp., Santa Monica, Calif.
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to start hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the mandate March 29. If the mandate survives, it will require many individuals with incomes over a certain level to have health coverage or else pay a penalty.
Defenders of the provision say it is necessary because doctors and hospitals have no ethical or legal right to turn away patients who need care and may prove to be unable to pay their bills, and because people who do have health coverage end up paying the medical bills of “free riders” by paying higher fees to doctors and hospitals and higher premiums to health insurers.
Opponents of the provision say Congress has no more right to make people buy a commercial insurance product than it does to make people buy broccoli.