Obamacare mandate repeal may not deliver predicted blow

Mar 2012
New Hampshire
Repealing Obamacare's individual mandate might not be the devastating blow to health insurance markets that supporters of the law fear. Even the Congressional Budget Office says it's rethinking its estimates of the consequences.

Because the tax penalty for not having insurance is far less costly than what many Americans would have to pay for coverage, many have chosen to take the fine. Eliminating it, therefore, might not radically change behavior — or fulfill the dire predictions of spiking premiums and vast increases in uninsured people that economists, health providers and politicians once predicted.

“We’ve always said the mandate is ineffective; it’s such a weak mandate,” said Deep Banerjee, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s who has closely tracked the Obamacare markets. “We don’t think many people would lose insurance if the mandate goes away.” The ratings service projects repeal would increase the number of uninsured by 3 million to 5 million by 2027, and save the federal government $60 billion to $80 billion.