In the new reality of Barack Obama and Democratic control of our government, health insurance will not be an option: It will be the law.
Whatever bill emerges from Congress will almost certainly include a require that all Americans have health insurance — whether they want it or not.
In theory, those who can’t afford health insurance will get government help obtaining it.
In reality, the theory of legislation doesn’t always translate easily to actuality.
But a government-run health care system will require health insurance…or else.
Don’t have health insurance? Don’t want to pay for it? Too bad.
It’s looking like President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress are going to require you to pick up the bill.
In Washington-speak, it’s called an individual mandate – or a requirement that people who don’t already have health insurance to purchase it, much like most states require drivers to have automobile insurance.
Obama long has been wary of the idea, arguing that people cannot be required to buy coverage if they can’t afford it. His plan during the presidential primary didn’t require all adults to have coverage, only children. He and then-rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, who backed a universal requirement, sparred repeatedly over the issue.
Now in the White House, Obama has set in motion steps toward his broad goal of making health care more affordable, improving quality of care and expanding coverage. Says Obama: "We are not a nation that accepts nearly 46 million uninsured men, women and children."
He largely has left it to the House and Senate to work it out.
But in recent weeks, Congress signaled that legislation overhauling health care was all but certain to require that people have insurance. Of course, details about how to implement such a mandate must be worked out – and there are many – but the overall concept increasingly seems on track to be included in any sweeping health care overhaul that makes its way to Obama’s desk.