The Golden State Mandate

by Nicholas Bagley — Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2017

Now that Republicans have finally released their alternative to Obamacare, I’ve got an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times encouraging California and other blue states to take action to protect themselves.

[T]he Republican bill would set chaos in motion because it would immediately eliminate the individual mandate — that is, the tax penalty imposed on those who don’t purchase insurance. Without that mandate, some healthy people will choose to forgo coverage, knowing they can always enroll later if they get sick. Those who keep their insurance will therefore be less healthy than average. Insurers will have to jack up their premiums to cover those sicker enrollees.

That means California’s stable market will start to teeter. Large premium spikes are likely; in some rural areas, insurers might pull out altogether. The Commonwealth Fund estimates that 1 out of 4 people on the exchanges would lose their coverage.

Here’s the takeaway, then: Obamacare wasn’t collapsing — but it could if the Republicans get their way.

California has a shot at preventing that collapse, however, as do other states where Democrats are in charge, including New York, Connecticut, Washington and Oregon. For 2018 and 2019, almost every part of Obamacare except for the individual mandate will remain intact. California can patch that hole by replacing the individual mandate at the state level. Call it the Golden State Mandate.

Read the whole thing!

@nicholas_bagley

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About Nicholas Bagley

Nicholas Bagley is a Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.

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