One of the main features of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was its requirement that most people purchase health insurance.
This was designed to address several problems, including the possibility that people would purchase coverage only when they got sick. Higher rates of health insurance were also meant to reduce the amount of uncompensated care hospitals have to provide uninsured people in emergency departments.
Neither the House nor Senate bills include this mechanism, known as the individual mandate. And the Senate bill doesn’t even include the alternative incentives contained in the House bill, which says insurers can hike rates on customers if they have a gap in coverage for more than three months.
So, how to stop people from buying coverage only when they’re sick?
“That kind of gaming of the system is a problem,” Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) said Thursday afternoon on a call reporters. “There’s still discussion about how to discourage that sort of thing.”
Seems like something to watch as discussions on the bill move forward.
Toomey also said he’s “likely” to vote for the legislation. He said it needs ongoing work, but could still support it in its current form. “I don’t have a list of things at this point I must change,” Toomey said. “Everything I want is not going to happen in one bill.”
Paige Winfield Cunningham contributed.