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GOP Fight To Delay The Individual Mandate: Am I Missing Something?

Has the GOP effort to repeal, defund or delay Obamacare, in its entirety, really disintegrated to the point where the GOP’s last stand will be to fight for a one-year delay on the mandate upon individuals to purchase health insurance?  When I first heard that idea, my emotional reaction was to favor the idea, feeling that if President Obama had delayed the mandate for corporations, then it was only “fair” to delay the mandate for individuals.  Why should the little guy suffer?  But I should have known better, because succumbing to the liberal mindset of analyzing policy in emotional terms of “fairness” or “reciprocity” can be a recipe for disaster.

Using logic, instead of emotion, I conclude that such a fight makes no sense.  If an individual already has health insurance, that individual is in compliance with the mandate and derives no benefit from the one-year delay.   Therefore, the ONLY individual that would benefit from the delay is one that currently does not have health insurance, who would be spared from paying a penalty.  I could see supporting the idea if an individual possibly could be fined for not having health insurance, and really had no place to obtain it. But that is not the case, because like it or not, the exchanges have opened for business.  So, the GOP has entered into some alternative universe where it is actually fighting to save a person’s right for one more year to “roll the dice” without health insurance, relying instead on free health care at emergency rooms across the nation, at taxpayer expense. And if those people were planning to roll the dice anyway, now the GOP proposal lets them off the hook for the fine, too.

Seriously, is that really the result for which they want to fight?  Until this week, I would have thought that only the Democrats could have staked out such a position, because at least the targeted beneficiary of such a bizarre policy was likely to be one of their own voters. But why would the GOP push for that position, at seemingly great political expense?  Sorry, I have no logical explanation.

Dave Beltrami is a lawyer and political analyst. He received his Juris Doctor and Master of Laws (Taxation) degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

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