A mandate is a good way to get more people into the insurance pool, but there’s doubt the Supreme Court will uphold the mandate of health reform law. If the Court does let it stand, the penalty for noncompliance – $695 annually or 2.5% of household income, whichever is higher – might not be big enough to make people enroll as coverage is expected to cost over $2,000 for an individual earning $30,000 a year. An alternative to the mandate is providing a tax credit to everyone with health coverage. Another method to keep the health reform law alive without the mandate is to give a warning that premiums will increase if people put off getting coverage. These alternatives would not get everyone covered, but could keep the health reform law from falling into the “death spiral.”

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