The Democratic apoplexy over potential repeal of the Obamacare mandate was all political from the start as was the Republican assumption of savings from its repeal. There is no reason to believe millions will drop coverage simply because they are not required to have it, especially when the penalty for doing so is weak.
Repealing Mandate That Was ‘Weak’ In First Place May Not Radically Change Customers’ Behavior
“We don’t think many people would lose insurance if the mandate goes away,” said Deep Banerjee, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s. That runs counter to the hopes of Republican lawmakers, who are counting on a repeal of the mandate to free up billions in federal spending because the government won’t be subsidizing so many customers.
Repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate might not be the devastating blow to health insurance markets that supporters of the law fear. Because the tax penalty for not having insurance is far less costly than what many Americans would have to pay for coverage, many have chosen to take the fine. Eliminating it, therefore, might not radically change behavior — or fulfill the dire predictions of spiking premiums and vast increases in uninsured people that economists, health providers and politicians once predicted. (Haberkorn and Demko, 11/20)
A new report from Standard & Poor’s predicts less savings and coverage loss from repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate compared to the most commonly-used estimate. The study from S&P finds that repealing the mandate, as Senate Republicans are proposing in their tax-reform bill, would result in three to five million more uninsured people and $60 billion to $80 billion in savings over 10 years. That estimate is far less than the more commonly-used Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, which predict 13 million more uninsured people and $338 billion in savings over the same period. (Sullivan, 11/17)
Alexia Manon Senior is 27 and healthy — the type of person who might be most tempted to forgo health insurance if Republicans enact a tax bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most Americans have coverage or pay a penalty. But Ms. Manon Senior, a graduate student in Miami, said she would hold tight to her coverage, at least as long as she keeps getting nearly $5,000 a year in government subsidies to pay for most of it. (Zernike and Goodnough, 11/19)