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Individual Mandate

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BUSINESS
December 17, 2010 | David Lazarus
What part of the insurance business do opponents of healthcare reform not understand? That's a question I frequently ask myself when I hear people complaining about a requirement that almost everyone buy coverage in return for insurers not being able to turn anyone away, regardless of medical condition. This week, a federal district judge in Virginia ruled that the so-called individual mandate is unconstitutional because Congress overstepped its bounds in approving the requirement.
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NEWS
March 14, 2014 | By Jon Healey
The House is set to vote Friday on an important healthcare bill that has either been sabotaged by anti-Obamacare Republicans or (unwittingly) rescued by them. House Republicans have teed up a bill that would make a crucial change in Medicare, preventing a deep cut in doctors' fees scheduled to go into effect April 1. But it would pay for it by postponing Obamacare's requirement that all adult Americans buy health insurance until 2019 -- a move that, perversely, could drive up premiums in the individual market and leave even more people without coverage.
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OPINION
June 20, 2012 | By Theda Skocpol and Lawrence R. Jacobs
Speculation about the likely death of "Obamacare" has raged ever since the Supreme Court heard three intense days of legal arguments in March. The pundits have crowed about how the individual mandate is the Achilles' heel of President Obama's healthcare law. Indeed, anyone watching TV or reading newspapers could easily believe that healthcare reform revolves entirely around the individual mandate, which would require Americans to buy health insurance...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 30, 2013 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
The Obamacare rollout in California has been bumpy, but it's running much more smoothly here than in most of America. And for that, we can thank former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Gov. Jerry Brown deserves kudos, too. But it was Schwarzenegger who leapt in and became the nation's first governor to embrace the federal Affordable Care Act and begin planning to implement the ambitious program. "The Republican governor who preceded us jumped early and we accepted the baton that he tossed," says Diana Dooley, Brown's secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency.
OPINION
December 15, 2010
The legal battle over the federal healthcare reform law boils down to an argument over how to balance two opposing principles within the Constitution: the broad power granted to Congress to regulate interstate commerce, and the liberties reserved to individual citizens. In a series of decisions over the past century, the Supreme Court has relaxed the limits on Washington's power over commerce, leading some conservatives and libertarians to fear that Congress could interfere in just about any decision made by businesses and their customers.
BUSINESS
December 30, 2012 | David Lazarus
This was the year of the healthcare mandate. No other consumer story of 2012 comes close. In a split decision, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. casting the deciding vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the cornerstone of President Obama's healthcare reform law, the most sweeping overhaul of our dysfunctional medical system in decades. The so-called individual mandate requires that most people have health insurance. It's the trade-off for the insurance industry's agreement to stop denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions and to stop charging higher rates if you get sick.
HEALTH
February 15, 2010 | By Brendan Borrell
Should the government force everyone to purchase health insurance? Few topics in the healthcare debate are more controversial than the so-called individual mandate, which would fine citizens without insurance and lies at the heart of the now-stalled healthcare bills in Congress. President Barack Obama has said that a major goal of healthcare reform is to reduce the number of legal residents who are uninsured (currently estimated at 17% of adults). One strategy is for the government to require insurance to be sold at a fixed price regardless of preexisting conditions, but in that case, many people might wait until they get sick before they purchased insurance, which could bankrupt the system.
OPINION
November 20, 2011 | By Walter Zelman
The Supreme Court will rule next year on the constitutionality of the healthcare reform passed in 2010. But constitutionality notwithstanding, Republican opposition to the new law has been vigorous and consistent. In recent GOP presidential debates the candidates have been unanimous in condemning it, in particular objecting to the requirement that almost all Americans obtain health insurance or pay a penalty. On the surface, Republican and conservative opposition to the new requirement seems perfectly logical.
OPINION
April 11, 2012
Down on Deasy Re "On a mission to change school district's culture," April 8 In the 1980s I was a teacher in the L.A. Unified School District's Incentive Substitute Teacher Program, which was meant to ensure good instruction and classroom oversight in hard-to-staff schools. I can assure readers that "subbing" is one of the least-empowered positions in the district. That L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy would walk into a classroom unannounced and criticize "well-regarded" substitute teacher Patrena Shankling as she "carried out the assignment left by the regular teacher," and then the next day send her a letter of termination, is nothing more than bullying.
OPINION
October 24, 2010
The costliest piece of the healthcare reform law Congress passed this year is the subsidy it creates to help working-class Americans buy insurance. This new entitlement is not the law's most controversial piece, however. That dubious distinction belongs to the provision that makes the subsidies necessary: the mandate that all American adults buy health policies, starting in 2014. To critics, this "individual mandate" epitomizes the intrusiveness and regulatory overreach that have characterized the last two years of consolidated Democratic power in Washington.
BUSINESS
October 22, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
With dire reports of the Obamacare website's dysfunction rising by the hour--and the deadlines for signing up for insurance moving nearer by the day--the question on everyone's lips is: Has the time come to delay the individual mandate? Health economists Nicholas Bagley and Austin Frakt say no. But they do have a workable plan for saving Obamacare from the website's meltdown. Here's the best news: It doesn't require action by Congress. The proposal is not to delay the mandate but to waive the penalty for going without coverage, which hits people who don't have insurance by next April 1. The law sets the penalty for 2014 at $95 per person or 1% of household income, whichever is greater.
NEWS
October 22, 2013 | By Jon Healey
A federal judge on Tuesday denied the federal government's motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a key provision in the 2010 healthcare law, but the court didn't stop the provision from going into effect either. At issue is whether health insurance subsidies for low- and moderate-income Americans will be available in 34 states where the federal government is operating the new marketplace (or "exchange") for individual policies. Four residents and three business owners from five of those states sued to stop the subsidies, arguing that the 2010 law makes them available only in states that set up their own exchanges.
OPINION
October 14, 2013 | By Robert Hahn and Peter Passell
The Republicans' obsession with Obamacare has been variously described as a tactical ploy to preserve the semblance of unity in a divided party or as a fundraising magnet to raise money from the sort of folks who think President Obama is a reincarnation of Lenin. It may be either (or both). But the idea of closing down the government, and even threatening to precipitate a global credit crisis, over the healthcare law has been widely written off as myopia on the part of the live-free-or-die crowd.
NEWS
July 31, 2013 | By Jon Healey
The House is expected to hold yet another symbolic vote this week on a bill to neuter the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, once again taking aim at the much-unloved "individual mandate" -- the requirement that virtually all adult Americans obtain coverage, starting in 2014. The measure ( HR 2009 ) would bar the Treasury Department from implementing or enforcing the two 2010 laws that make up Obamacare. The goal is to stop the Internal Revenue Service (which is part of the Treasury Department)
NEWS
July 17, 2013 | By Jon Healey
House Republicans continued their crusade to dismantle Obamacare on Wednesday, but an announcement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should have stopped them in their tracks. The fact that it didn't shows that Republican lawmakers are so determined to undermine the law, they don't care what might happen to their constituents. At issue are deceptively simple bills to delay two provisions of Obamacare (a.k.a. the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) for a year -- that is, until after the 2014 elections, when Republicans hope to regain control of the Senate.
BUSINESS
December 30, 2012 | David Lazarus
This was the year of the healthcare mandate. No other consumer story of 2012 comes close. In a split decision, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. casting the deciding vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the cornerstone of President Obama's healthcare reform law, the most sweeping overhaul of our dysfunctional medical system in decades. The so-called individual mandate requires that most people have health insurance. It's the trade-off for the insurance industry's agreement to stop denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions and to stop charging higher rates if you get sick.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2012 | Michael Hiltzik
One afternoon in 1934, Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone decided to quietly help Labor Secretary Frances Perkins out of a jam. Her quandary was how to write a Social Security law that would survive scrutiny by the court's conservative bloc. Stone, a progressive, pulled her aside during a tea party at his home, glanced around to make sure he wasn't overheard, and whispered, "The taxing power of the federal government, my dear; the taxing power is sufficient for everything you want and need.
BUSINESS
September 10, 2012 | By David Lazarus
At first glance, it looked like Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had once again altered his position on healthcare reform. "I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform," he said on "Meet the Press" over the weekend. "Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like.
OPINION
July 6, 2012
Re "The limits on liberty," Editorial, July 4 This could be clearer. The individual mandate is a mandate to get insurance, with some people exempted. If one does not, a penalty applies, with some exempted; but the penalty is the only consequence imposed for not having insurance. The Supreme Court did not label the individual mandate itself as being a tax. It upheld a use of the power to tax as a way to impose the penalty. Tax law has many provisions to spur or deter conduct.
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