Healthcare Reform - The Mandate Debate
Hosted by KPCC’s Larry Mantle
After fourteen contentious months, a healthcare overhaul bill has finally passed. The landmark legislation aims to extend insurance coverage to nearly 32 million uninsured and halt industry practices that discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions. President Obama is expected to sign it into law this week – but the battle is far from over.
One of the most controversial aspects of the reform package is the requirement that all Americans be insured, or pay a fine. Proponents argue that a strong mandate, sweetened by subsidies, is the only way insurers can afford to accept all applicants – sick or well. Critics say the mandate is a bailout for private insurance companies, and contend it will do little to control spiraling healthcare costs. Meanwhile, the attorneys general of a dozen states argue it’s unconstitutional and have threatened legal action.
This AirTalk Town Hall debated the pros and cons of the individual mandate. Should the government force everyone to buy insurance? How will that work? Who will pay? And is this the best strategy to achieve universal health coverage?
Lucien Wulsin, Director, Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP)
Jerry Flanagan, Health Care Policy Director, Consumer Watchdog
Patrick Johnston, President and CEO, California Association of Health Plans
Glen Whitman, Associate Professor of Economics, California State University, Northridge, and adjunct scholar at the CATO Institute