Ezra Klein unwittingly explains how to destroy ObamaCare:
Pick your favorite system. Socialized medicine in Britain. Single-payer in Canada. Multi-payer with a government floor in France. Private plans with heavy public regulation in Sweden, Germany and elsewhere. None of these plans are "voluntary." In some, there's an individual mandate forcing you to pay premiums to insurance companies. In some, there's a system of taxation forcing you to pay premiums to the government. In all of them, at least so far as I know, participation is required except in very limited and uncommon circumstances. And there's a reason for that: No universal system can work without it.In other words, the Democrats' health care reform law is a house of cards. Remove the right card and the whole house will collapse. In this case, the right card is the individual mandate.
Americans tend to dislike government mandates. I dislike them. You probably dislike them too. This is supposed to be a free country. Government mandates are the opposite of freedom. Government mandates are so abhorrent that the Democrats are waiting until after the 2012 general election for the health insurance mandate to take effect. Republicans should run against the mandate year after year, decade after decade, until it is repealed. Once the individual mandate is repealed, the whole ObamaCare house of cards will come crashing down.
The individual mandate will force people to buy health insurance no matter how expensive that health insurance gets. Expanding health insurance coverage by requiring people to buy something they can't afford, fining them if they don't buy it, and jailing them if they don't pay the fine... is just evil.
The individual mandate forces younger workers to subsidize the health insurance expenses of older workers. That's because the people who don't buy health insurance tend to be young and healthy. Since younger workers are just starting out in their careers and have had little time to save, while older workers have had decades to advance in their careers and build up a sizable nest egg, the individual mandate is a regressive tax. The individual mandate effectively forces entry-level workers to subsidize management. That's just wrong!
In addition, by forcing people to buy insurance, the individual mandate funnels gobs of money away from ordinary Americans and toward health insurance companies. Health insurance executives were happy to let Barack Obama bash them publicly, because he was advocating a law that will stuff their pockets with money. (He can bash me too if he forces people to pay me!)
Now here's the bad part. Of course, the individual mandate (or any part of ObamaCare) can't be repealed while Barack Obama is President. Furthermore, since ObamaCare is a copy of Massachusetts' RomneyCare, it can't be repealed by a future President Mitt Romney either. If Republicans want to collapse the ObamaCare house of cards, they need to both nominate someone other than Romney and win the 2012 general election. Since Mitt Romney is the likely Republican 2012 front-runner, it may be a long time before health care reform is obliterated.
In addition (not as a substitute!) to pursuing a legislative repeal of the mandate, it could be taken to the courts. Argue in court that forcing Americans, against their will, to buy something that may be difficult for them to afford, simply to exist as a human being in this country, is not one of the federal government's enumerated powers. The Washington Post puts it this way:
The individual mandate extends the commerce clause's power beyond economic activity, to economic inactivity. That is unprecedented. While Congress has used its taxing power to fund Social Security and Medicare, never before has it used its commerce power to mandate that an individual person engage in an economic transaction with a private company. Regulating the auto industry or paying "cash for clunkers" is one thing; making everyone buy a Chevy is quite another. Even during World War II, the federal government did not mandate that individual citizens purchase war bonds.
If you choose to drive a car, then maybe you can be made to buy insurance against the possibility of inflicting harm on others. But making you buy insurance merely because you are alive is a claim of power from which many Americans instinctively shrink.
* ObamaCare is only designed to expand health insurance coverage. It is not designed to lower costs or improve quality. Unfortunately, many people incorrectly think it is.