Lost in all the confusion about Obamacare is the fact that the law relies on more than just the individual mandate to encourage people to buy health insurance. It also makes health insurance more affordable, especially for people at or below 400% of the federal poverty limit by subsidizing insurance for those folks. So do we even need a mandate or will those subsidies be enough?
First off, it helps to remember that one of the goals of Obamacare is to make sure that people are not priced out of the insurance market once they develop serious chronic illnesses. If an insurance company finds out that a man has prostate cancer, or a woman has coronary artery disease, the company would normally consider those illnesses when estimating how much they need to charge those people for their individual premiums. After all, these people are likely to have more medical expenses then healthier customers. If the price of insurance didn’t reflect their underlying health, that insurance company would be at a competitive disadvantage. But of course this very sensible action by the insurance company would price many such people out of the insurance market… (Read more and view comments at Forbes)