December 30, 2017

Tom Cotton is US Senator for Arkansas.

Some media comment on the repeal of the individual care mandate
The Hill: “Many experts and health-care groups warn that repeal will destabilize ObamaCare markets, leading to premium increases or insurers simply dropping out of certain areas. Without a financial penalty under the mandate for lacking health coverage, there is less incentive for healthy people to sign up and balance out the costs of the sick.”

National Review: “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that within a decade as many as 13 million more people will go without insurance. For many of those people, forgoing insurance is not a wise decision. But it is still their decision. Contrary to progressive talking points, no one’s insurance is going to be taken away.”

Fortune: “Repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate won’t affect most people. That’s because the vast majority of Americans receive health coverage through their employer or through a public health program like Medicare, Medicaid, or military health services.”

You might believe, judging by media coverage, that Congress abandoned the health-care issue entirely after the Republican health-care bill failed last summer but you’d be wrong.

The new tax bill repeals Obamacare’s hated individual mandate.  The mandate requires every American to buy government-approved insurance or pay a fine to the Internal Revenue Service of up to nearly $2,100 per household.  Little wonder it’s been the least popular part of Obamacare.

The media has missed this story for several reasons:

  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the most sweeping tax reform in 31 years, so there’s a lot to cover.
  • A less charitable, but doubtless accurate, explanation is that liberal reporters support Obamacare and they know the mandate was its beating heart.
  • Finally, there’s also a cultural reason the media has missed this story.  Media professionals tend to be concentrated on the East Coast and are upper-middle-class, if not rich.  Most cannot imagine going without health insurance; few probably know anyone who can.  That’s because the mandate falls hardest on working families and poor people.  In Arkansas, for instance, 65,000 people paid the fine in 2016 and 53,000 of those earned less than $50,000 a year. Nationwide, it was 6.7 million people, with 5.3 million earning less than that. Those families deserve better than to be fined by their government for being unable to afford the insurance that the government made unaffordable in the first place. Their story deserves to be told.

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Introduction to this Under-reported series.

Summary guide to all under-reported articles in this series.

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