The Individual Mandate Isn’t Dead, in One Paragraph

by Patrick Brennan

From the CBO’s updated estimate of Obamacare’s effect on insurance coverage, which was released today:

Here’s how that breaks down, revenue-wise, over the next ten years:

There was plenty of talk about how the individual mandate has been weakened by the Obama administration — and it’s weak as designed, basically — but it’s not going away. Lots of people are going to pay it, and even if they weren’t quite made aware of it to take it into account when considering insurance this year, it’s increasing in future years. People won’t necessarily have “paid” it by the time they make a decision about whether to buy insurance next year, though, because it’s going to be taken out of their federal tax refunds. Open enrollment ends February 15 of next year, while federal taxes aren’t due for two more months. Only people who file their taxes relatively quickly will have experienced the mandate charge before open enrollment ends.

The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.