Today's Supreme Court oral arguments focus on the individual healthcare mandate. What happens if the mandate is ruled unconstitutional but the rest of the law is left intact? A round-up of estimates:
Sarah Kliff captions:
Health-care economists use different models and algorithms to game out what would happen if the high court struck the mandate down. That’s why you see some significant differences between what different studies predict. But, in general, they all expect the same outcome: Fewer Americans would gain health insurance, and it would cost more.
Jonathan Gruber, an architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare, defends the individual mandate:
There have been a variety of complaints about the individual mandate, but they are unfounded. It is important to remember that the vast majority of Americans will be unaffected by the mandate because they are already covered; indeed, when individuals are informed of this fact, public support for the mandate almost doubles. Moreover, no one will be forced to buy insurance that they cannot afford; the mandate includes an “affordability exemption” that excludes any individual who cannot find insurance for less than 8% of their income. In Massachusetts we have a similar exemption and we have had no public outcry about the mandate and only a very small number of appeals of mandate penalties.
Aaron E. Carroll points out that there are various alternatives to the mandate:
[The mandate is] fixable if people truly cared about the mandate, and the mandate only. We can have the desired effect of the mandate without the offensive, potentially unconstitutional, aspects of it. But at this point, many fighting the mandate are really fighting the Affordable Care Act, albeit with the tools available to them.