As the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether the national health care act can require all to purchase health insurance, it might be a good idea to take a look at why this requirement was included in the act.
As it is right now in this nation with the most expensive health care on the planet, almost everybody does carry some kind of health insurance.
Some people have high-end policies, which they either purchase themselves or are provided by their employers. These policies cover everything from flu shots to heart transplants, from nose jobs to long-term hospitalization while the policy holder is in a coma.
Others have more basic policies which cover some basic care, some emergency care, and some hospitalization.
And many are covered by Medicare. Medicare is federal health insurance for the those over 65, paid for by taxes on wages paid by employees and employers.
In 1965, the same year it established Medicare, Congress also passed a law providing health care for the poor, which is paid by general taxation.
This program is called Medicaid, and is administered through the states. California, for example has about 12 million people covered by Medicaid, at an annual cost of some $40 billion. It is paid for by federal and state funds that come out of taxpayers’ pockets.
The health care act would expand Medicaid by some 32 million beneficiaries, and increase benefits. It also would require the uninsured to purchase basic insurance policies, to pay their share.
It is similar to the legal requirement to purchase automobile liability insurance, such as California and other states have.
Without the requirement to purchase health insurance, the health care act probably wouldn’t work. It’s that requirement on which the high court is hearing arguments now.