• More alternatives to the individual mandate

    From our friends at the GAO, released March 28: Private Health Insurance Coverage:  Expert Views on Approaches to Encourage Voluntary Enrollment.  The report was requested by Senate Dems, maybe as a road map for a post-individual mandate world. The highlights include some now-familiar ideas:

    • Modify open enrollment periods and impose late enrollment penalties.

    • Expand employers’ roles in auto enrolling and facilitating employees’ health insurance enrollment.

    • Conduct a public education and outreach campaign.

    • Provide broad access to personalized assistance for health coverage enrollment.

    • Allow greater variation in premium rates based on enrollee age.

    And also the “road not taken,” using the taxing power to side-step the current constitutional challenge:

    • Impose a tax to pay for uncompensated care.

    And three newer ideas (at least to me):

    • Condition the receipt of certain government services upon proof of health insurance coverage.

    The tuition mandate – no federally guaranteed student loans without health insurance! Constitutional under the spending power, but adds administrative complexity.  Why not go all the way – the drivers license mandate?

    • Use health insurance agents and brokers differently.

    Let’s pay those unemployed health insurance brokers to drag free riders into the system.  Does anyone outside of the industry think this is a good idea?

    • Require or encourage credit rating agencies to use health insurance status as a factor in determining credit ratings.

    What a terrible idea, on so many levels.



    • “Why not go all the way – the drivers license mandate?”

      Because that would be unconstitutional. Lots of people are unable to drive, which is unrelated to their right to pursue an education.

      • @ Mulder – by “drivers license mandate” I meant a federal law that would require states to require health insurance as a condition of obtaining a driving license. I’m not actually in favor of this myself, just describing this option.

    • How about banning employer paid health insurance? Then insurance companies would have to compete for individuals. Premiums would come down because individuals would walk away of it got too expensive. Health care costs would come down, because those costs would have to match the spending power of individuals.