Health Care Reform Mandate, How Does It Work?
Health care reform's so-called individual mandate is either a crucial element in the plan to give nearly all Americans better access to medical care or the greatest threat to liberty since Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Either way, it's the law of the land and barring a repeal by the Supreme Court or a Republican president, we're all going to have to deal with it come 2014.
When the biggest parts of the health care reform are in place in less than two years, almost every legal U.S. resident will have to prove they have some form of health insurance or they'll be subject to a tax penalty. The basic idea behind the mandate is that people shouldn't wait until they're sick to buy health insurance or expect the rest of us to foot the bill when they get treatments for which they can't pay.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments next week about whether the mandate and other elements of the law violate the Constitution.