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The Problem with Individual Mandate

Everyone has the right to quality and equal health care facilities and this equality in healthcare is called health equity. Unfortunately, there is a huge disparity among the citizens of the United States as many of them cannot afford insurance and consequently medical care as it is out of their income bracket. This may be due to the demographic of these individuals that they are not able to afford healthcare. To accomplish health equity in the country, individual mandate was introduced so that everyone could have access to health care. This paper will analyze the effectiveness of individual mandate along with the alternative approach to it while weighing in their advantages and disadvantages of them.

Alternative Approach

In 1993, President Clinton presented Health Security Act in which he proposed an individual mandate so that medical care would become accessible to everyone. The individual mandate makes it compulsory for everyone to get insured so if someone fails to comply then they are faced with a penalty. However; there is an alternative and more affordable approach to individual mandate which is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate. Although this is also a mandate, ACA’s approach is more competitive and affordable for people of lower income, the elderly, and the disabled (Wilensky & Teitelbaum, 2019). This helps each state to formulate its health care policy that fits its health care needs. The proposal presented by each state includes:

  • The individuals that are insured under Medicaid would be excluded from the mandate but the rest of the citizens would need to comply with the mandate proposed by the state government.
  • The employers are obligated to provide their employees with health insurance packages, however, if the employers are covered by Medicaid then they would be excluded from the mandate.
  • A modified health insurance plan for single-payer should be established, however, Medicaid would not be included in this insurance plan. It will be ensured that the standard of this health insurance plan is following the standards of the Affordable Care Act.
  • It was proposed by the state government that free-market health insurance should be established as it would remove the need for the mandate. The individuals, under this law, would not be obligated to have health insurance. This would also take away the responsibility from the employers to provide health insurance packages for their employees. The citizen would be able to acquire health insurance plans that suit their needs from this market.
  • Based on the age of the people that are enrolling for a certain insurance plan, variation should be allowed to the enrollee in premium rates (Simpson, 2011).

Incentive System

Mandates bound the individuals legally to follow a certain set of laws whereas the incentive rewards the individuals for complying with certain policies. If the policymakers develop an incentive-based health insurance system then people would be more willing to get health insurance. This could include benefits in regards to taxes, as some relief in taxation would be welcomed with open arms by everyone and they would be more willing to comply with the policy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Incentive System and Mandate

The biggest advantage of the incentive system would be that it would encourage people to follow the insurance policy. Another advantage would be that it would not feel like the government is pressuring the people to get insured. However; the disadvantage would be that people would not be legally bound to purchase health insurance and that may serve as a problem as the citizens may not purchase health insurance at all. The government would not be able to impose it legally. Apart from this, the incentive system would not help in achieving health equity (Eibner & Nowak, 2018).

The advantage ofthemandate is that it makes it compulsory for everyone to get health insurance and this compulsion would help in achieving health equity. However, the disadvantage is that failure to comply with the mandate means that the individuals would be penalized which will make them feel as if they are being pressurized to do it (BORRELL, 2010).

Incentivized Encouragement

Receiving incentives for following the health care policies would encourage people to enroll in the insurance plans. This has been achieved by Universal life insurance as it encourages people to get insured by providing them incentives in exchange. It is a premium life insurance that is flexible which means that the person purchasing the insurance will only pay flexible premiums. It is mandatory to pay the first premium and the rest of the premiums can be paid according to the plan that the buyer has purchased. With each plan, the buyers can customize their expenses and premiums. If the premiums are paid; then the cash can be withdrawn easily.


BORRELL, B. (2010, February 15). Pros and Cons of a Health Mandate. Los Angeles Times.

Eibner, C., & Nowak, S. (2018, July 11). The Effect of Eliminating the Individual Mandate Penalty and the Role of Behavioral Factors | Commonwealth Fund.

Simpson, A. G. (2011, March 29). 9 Alternatives to Individual Health Insurance Mandate; Will They Work? Insurance Journal.

Wilensky, S. E., & Teitelbaum, J. B. (2019). “Essentials of Health Policy and Law (4th edition)” by Sara E. Wilensky and Joel B. Teitelbaum.



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