The New Bipartisan Consensus for an Individual Mandate

Although those opposing the Affordable Care Act have decried the burdensome nature of the individual mandate, a recent proposal developed by Republicans seeks to address the same problem as the ACA's mandate and would impose strong penalties on the uninsured.

The individual responsibility requirement, most often referred to as the individual mandate, included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has perhaps been the most controversial feature of the law since its passage. It requires most Americans to maintain minimum essential coverage (as defined in the ACA) or pay a tax penalty.

The ACA includes the individual mandate to avoid the consequences of individuals waiting until they are sick or injured to obtain coverage, because the act also prohibits insurers from discriminating against those with health problems. If people did not enroll in coverage until they knew they would need care, premiums would increase tremendously and health insurance markets could become unstable.

Although those opposing the ACA have decried the burdensome nature of such a mandate, a recent proposal (the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, or PCARE) developed by Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Richard Burr and Representative Fred Upton seeks to address the same problem as the ACA’s mandate and would impose strong penalties on the uninsured.

Read the research brief from the Urban Institute: http://urbn.is/1xFjaze