the tax plan and the mandate

I assumed that the end of the “individual mandate” would seriously undermine funding for Obamacare, and in fact that is exactly what Trump is claiming. But Politifact says we all have that wrong. In fact, those penalties cover only about 3% of the cost of the Affordable Care Act. The main point of the penalty was always a psychological incentive for people to go to the exchanges and find out if they qualified for free or subsidized insurance. People wanted to avoid that penalty even if avoiding it meant they pay more for insurance than they would have paid for the penalty. Not only that, but people who qualify for Medicaid, which is free, have been more likely to find out they qualify for Medicaid because they go to the exchanges after wrongly thinking they are subject to the penalty. So it was somewhat of a psychological trick all along rather than a serious funding mechanism. This doesn’t mean that removing it will have only a 3% affect on premiums for the subsidized private plans – the effect may work in reverse, with more people never going to the exchanges and some not realizing they qualify for free Medicaid benefits. The CBO guesstimate is a 10% increase in premiums as a result of this effect. It’s still going to hurt the working class who need health insurance the most and it’s still immoral. The really immoral part is that as U.S. health care costs continue to spiral out of control in both the public and private sectors, our immoral dishonest politicians are going to point to Obamacare as the cause, and our uninformed citizens are going to believe them.

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