Obamacare’s ‘mandate’ meltdown

Obamacare’s ‘mandate’ meltdown

The president and his Democratic allies are finding it harder to make people buy insurance than they’d expected. Will ObamaCare’s individual mandate survive?

Last month, the administration announced that anyone with a canceled 2013 individual insurance plan would be exempt from the “individual-responsibility requirement” this year, and would be allowed to buy the catastrophe-only insurance previously offered to those age 30 or under.

This exemption is likely only the first of many. How, for one, can the administration exempt people who had insurance last year but not exempt people who were uninsured because they couldn’t afford coverage?

ObamaCare’s architects were always ambivalent about the mandate. They knew compulsion was necessary to make their system work — but, fearing a backlash, opted for a fairly weak penalty for those who didn’t obey. Oops: They wound up with a mandate that still provokes resentment, yet probably won’t work.

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