What If Republicans Refuse To Buy Health Insurance?

Ramesh Ponnuru downplays the consequences:

[P]eople who “contract leukemia” will be able to buy insurance once they’re sick at the same rate they could have gotten it for when they were well. That’s the part of the Obamacare law that its defenders are usually most keen to emphasize. People who go without insurance while they’re healthy may have to pay a tax — although even at that the Internal Revenue Service will be limited in its methods of collection — and may, if they get sick, find their options for getting insurance limited for a few months.

Adrianna McIntyre differs:

Sure, there’s the penalty; everyone knows about that. But there’s also the limited open enrollment issue. That’s insurer-speak for “you can only sign up for exchange plans during certain months”; despite the rhetoric, people actually can’t just buy insurance whenever they fall ill.

The initial enrollment period is extended, from October 2013 through March 2014. But in subsequent years, enrollment will only last from October to December. There are special exceptions, like losing employer-based coverage during an off month, but I double-checked the regs.“I accidentally burned my Obamacare card” didn’t make the cut.

Sarah Kliff adds:

The idea of waiting until one gets sick only works if you manage to schedule said major illness for sometime in the early spring. Otherwise, opting not to enroll is a decision that sticks with you through the early fall.

Jonathan Cohn asks whether FreedomWorks will pick up the tab:

Keep in mind that just one visit to the emergency room can easily generate bills that reach into five figures. All of which brings us back to the question Kevin Drum asked a week ago: Is FreedomWorks prepared to cover the medical bills for young people who take the group’s advice, turn down insurance, and end up with crippling medical debts?

Earlier thoughts on FreedomWorks’ anti-enrollment campaign here.