I find no shame in admitting that this entire health care issue can be  mind numbingly complex.  Reading clear explanations of them can really help.  If you have items for this page, please post them as a comment.

Why Do We Need Individual Mandates?

Because, the argument goes, it ensures there are enough health people paying into the system to keep costs and premiums down, and keep the entire scheme solvent.  The Reform bills are insurance solutions, not entitlement programs. Without that mandate, only sick people who can't or won't get insurance elsewhere would buy in, jacking the price up so high, that everyone pulls out.

The Case For Mandates, Uwe E. Reinhardt

Thus, both theory and the empirical record teach us that if we want to impose guaranteed issue and community rating on the private health insurance market — even within age bands — then we should be prepared also to impose on individuals a fairly strict mandate to have insurance.

Uwe E. Reinhardt (1936- ) is the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University. bio

Why we need a Mandate, by Ezra Klein

This is called an insurance death spiral. If the people who think they're healthy now decide to wait until they need insurance to purchase it, the cost increases, which means the next healthiest group leaves, which jacks up costs again, and so forth.

Why We Need an Individual Mandate, CNN Money

Thus, while the individual mandate is necessary to make these markets work, it is also necessary to provide subsides to lower and middle class households who wouldn’t be able to purchase the insurance without such help.


Do Republicans Support or Oppose  Mandates?

Almost universally opposed (this month).

For Them Before They Were Against Them

Sen. Olympia Snow Opposes Them

Michelle Malkin and Hot Air Opposes Them


Do Liberals Support or Oppose

Opposes Mandates

Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos

Strip out the mandate, and the rest of the bill is palatable. It's not reform, but it's progress in the right direction. And you can still go back and tinker with it at a later time.

Keith Olbermann, @MSNBC

And it completely delights Republicans. See this Newsbusters orgasm over his special comment.


Supports Mandates

Can Democrats Govern? Joe Klein, Time

There are those who say that Democrats shouldn't favor any system that continues to include private insurers. Good luck with that. I've been covering these issues for 40 years and I've come to this conclusion: anything that actually helps people is good, whether or not it fits into an ideological pattern.

The Left Is Playing With Fire, Jonathan Cohn, New Republic

I'm all for a loud, angry left. If nothing else, we need it to balance out the loud, angry right. But there's a fine line between being constructive and destructive. This latest gambit, I think, crosses it.


Are There Alternatives To An Individual Mandate?

Paul Starr's "5 Year Opt-out" Plan  — Basically, prevent people from dropping coverage until they are sick, but providing a penalty box timeout before they can buy back into the system.  I like punishing the stupid this way, but of course, we'll have a lot of stupid people who get sick.  Who pays for them when that happens?  We do. That said, this may still be a reasonable way to appease the people who want to bring the whole reform plan down over the existence of a mandate on which the entire plan rests.

Under my proposal, you could decide not to pay for insurance and therefore not to receive those subsidies for five years. After that time, you could reconsider and decide whether or not to take another five-year opt out. But what you could not do is go back and forth at will, paying for insurance only when you're sick and then dropping insurance when you're healthy. There is no health-insurance system in the world that allows people to do that. And to think that we could start out that way is just plain silly.



Pass the Bill, by Paul Krugman

Things To Sign/Do For The Public Option

There are only a few weeks to pressure congress to pass a public Option.

Most of the big petitions out there should be getting 1000 times more traffic than they have been getting. But it's not too late. To bump up that activity, I have assembled here an easy list of sites people can use to be heard, or take action. It takes only a few minutes to use each site. The list below has less than 10 sites which are the best known, or most used petition or governmental contact sites I've been able to find, thus far. I will be revising this frequently over the next few days, so come back often. Even if these petitions are not as effective as we might hope, they don't cost you much time or effort, and you can feel good that you tried. Please use this convenient URL to pass this site on to your friends, family, and colleagues. http://bit.ly/4pubop Note: I am seeking a good aggregator tool that makes it simple for a single letter to go to each of your representatives. If you know of a site that does this, please contact me.

Petitions of the Public Option

Other Petitions or Actions


Videos, FAQs and Other Info

Please use this convenient URL to pass this site on to your friends, family, and colleagues. http://bit.ly/4pubop

Quick Facts for Advancing Meaningful Health Care Reform in the United States

Health Care: Too many Americans Just Don't Get It.

Basic Fact Primers and Debunkers Chosen for their simplicity.

General FAQs

Health Care Around the World

Opposition Research and Health Industry Disinformation

Organizations and Resources

  • UsHeatlhCrisis.com [ http://ushealthcrisis.com/ ]
  • Physicians for National Health Care Reform Physicians for a National Health Program is a non-profit research and education organization of 16,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance.

Statistics and Rankings

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