What is the individual mandate?
The Senate is poised to vote on the tax bill (H.R. 1: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) in the beginning of December. The bill includes a repeal of the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act, which requires individuals to get health insurance or pay a penalty. The word “penalty” may sound bad, but most Americans are not subject to it – most get coverage through their employers or government programs that meet the mandate’s requirements. (KFF) Additionally, people are exempted from the mandate if the cost of coverage takes up too much of their income. (KFF)
Why should I care about keeping the individual mandate?
The mandate is important to the stability of the insurance markets. If only sicker people and those with pre-existing conditions enrolled in health insurance plans, premiums would increase and the markets could be destabilized. (The Hill) Plus, repealing the individual mandate will result in 13 million more people being uninsured over the next ten years. (CBO)
Bottom line: the individual mandate urges healthy people to buy health insurance in case they need it in the future, which offsets the cost for people who are currently sick or have a pre-existing condition. We need the individual mandate to stay in place.
When people hear about the effects of repealing the individual mandate, they want to keep it. In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 55% of Americans said they wanted to repeal the individual mandate. But when presented with facts like the ones above, 1/3 of those supporters changed their minds and wanted to keep the individual mandate.
When people understand what the individual mandate does, they want to keep it.
How can I take action?
There’s still time to tell your Senator not to vote for a tax bill that repeals the individual mandate! Click below to send a letter to your Senators. Also, if you have friends in Arkansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, Maine, Tennessee, Montana, Arizona, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Kansas, Alaska, or Florida, forward this post to them – their Senators are on the fence about voting yes for this bill.