Monday, July 30, 2012

ACA mandate does not require people to buy for-profit insurance

Overall I love BooMan's article defending the ACA and its benefits to those who cannot afford to buy health insurance.

But there's one correction that I'd like to make to what he said. This is a pretty common mistake many liberals make when critiquing the law.
Now, I hate the mandate because it attempts to compel people to buy private for-profit health insurance...
It may sound like I'm nitpicking, but I think its an important point to remember that the exchanges set up by ACA for people who don't get insurance through their employer (as well as small businesses who tend to pay higher group rates) will be required to include at least one plan offered by a non-profit health insurer.

In addition, ACA provides $4.8 billion in funding for the development of non-profit health insurance co-ops. foster the creation of non-profit, member-run health insurance companies in all 50 states and District of Columbia to offer qualified health plans. To be eligible to receive funds, an organization must not be an existing health insurer or sponsored by a state or local government, substantially all of its activities must consist of the issuance of qualified health benefit plans in each state in which it is licensed, governance of the organization must be subject to a majority vote of its members, must operate with a strong consumer focus, and any profits must be used to lower premiums, improve benefits, or improve the quality of health care delivered to its members.
To me these are key provisions in the ACA that tend to mitigate some of the concerns about not having a public option available through the exchanges. Its important for liberals to know that there will be options available to the for-profit health insurance industry.


  1. SP, thank you for this! I have been pretty dismayed by some of the blinkered thinking on our side: there is no one way toward universal coverage, and constantly screaming single payer and public option without providing no clear way forward towards achieving this seems counter productive. These folks owe it to themselves to know what is actually IN THE LAW, and stop with the 'single payer'! 'public option' chants.


  2. There's also the interstate health care compacts, which allows states to band together to provide qualified health plans across state lines (Section 1333), and multistate health insurance plans, contracted with the Office of Personnel Management, at least one of which must be nonprofit (Section 1334). See

  3. The President of the United States Barack Obama went before the Congress of the United States and said to the nation:(as I recall)
    "There is no single way to achieve a public option or single payer"! He was always playing the long game! Wonder why we/they cant wait to see the surprize he has waiting for us.