The New York Times has a story on state legislators pushing back against the individual mandate that could be a part of health care reform. Health Care Horse Race has more. At issue is whether mandating individuals to buy insurance – which is effectively a tax, as is the penalty for non-compliance – is constitutional.
I wrote about individual mandates in 2006, following the adoption of the mandate in Massachusetts. What I predicted then was:
[T]he combination of mandates to purchase and subsidies from taxpayers will drive up the cost of health care dramatically.
The effect of the Massachusetts’ individual mandate, per the Cato Institute:
Health care costs continue to rise much faster than the national average. Since 2006, total state health care spending has increased by 28 percent. Insurance premiums have increased by 8–10 percent per year, nearly double the national average.