One of the key components of ObamaCare is the individual mandate, a controversial requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance or face a punitive tax. This particular part of ObamaCare, which goes into effect at the beginning of the year, was focal point of the legal challenge that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
But a new Gallup poll shows that many uninsured Americans aren’t aware of the individual mandate, which may be an unwelcome surprise next year.
“The vast majority of Americans, 81%, say they are aware of the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) requirement that most Americans must carry health insurance or pay a fine,” wrote Jeffrey Jones of Gallup. “Americans who are currently uninsured — those most directly affected by this requirement — are much less likely to be aware of the provision, with 56% saying they know about it and 43% saying they are unaware.”
The main reason uninsured Americans don’t have health coverage is, according to Gallup, predominately because the can’t afford it.
“Uninsured Americans are most likely to mention cost and affordability as the reason why they do not have health insurance. Forty-three percent cite this reason, not surprisingly given the dramatic increase in health insurance costs in the last 20 years,” noted Gallup, which conducted the poll between June 20-24. “Job considerations are also a major factor for the uninsured, with 24% saying they lack insurance because they are currently unemployed. Also, 8% are working but say their job does not offer health benefits, and another 2% lack health insurance because they are self-employed.”
Gallup also noted that 7% of the uninsured say that they haven’t purchased health insurance coverage because they don’t want or need it. This has implications for ObamaCare, especially when it comes to young people. Because ObamaCare relies on shifting costs burdens away from those who need coverage the most, it would pass the buck onto those who are healthy to balance costs. That’s why the Obama Administration and groups that support the law are engaging in outreach efforts.
The Wall Street Journal recently noted what a tough sell it will be to young people when they can just take the hit on penalities instead of paying a pretty penny for health insurance coverage, echoing a point made by Justice Samuel Alito during the Supreme Court hearings last year on ObamaCare.
“Mr. Alito pointed out that young, healthy adults today spend an average of $854 a year on health care. ObamaCare would require them to buy insurance policies expected to cost roughly $5,800,” recalled the Journal. “The law, then, isn’t just asking them to pay for ‘the services that they are going to consume…the mandate is forcing these people to provide a huge subsidy to the insurance companies…to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else.’”
This is one of the many problems, as Philip Klein recently explained at the Washington Examiner, that the Obama Administration faces as it forges ahead with ObamaCare. From cost controls to burdensome taxes to confusions over the state exchanges, there is plenty of reason to believe that ObamaCare will collapse under its own weight.