Switching sides: Health care's individual mandate
What do you think of the individual mandate?
It's the critical piece of the 2010 health care law that requires every American, starting in 2014, to have health insurance.
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments on its constitutionality this week, the left and the right are powering up to defend it or savage it. The justices have taken the unusual step of arranging for three days of oral argument, and protests on both sides are planned for the Supreme Court steps.
Defenders say that without the mandate — the least popular part of health reform — it's impossible to require insurers to cover people regardless of pre-existing conditions, an extremely popular part of health reform. Detractors say the mandate is an unconstitutional infringement on personal liberty and an unprecedented expansion of federal power.
Think carefully, though, in making up your own mind about the mandate, particularly if you want to judge the policy on its merits. If you look to political leaders for insight, you'll find major-league flip-flopping on both sides.