Could the Individual Mandate Increase Obamacare’s Popularity?

National Journal: “Those determined to hate Obamacare on principle might soon find themselves rhetorically stuck between a rock and a hard place as enrollment season approaches.”

“In theory, the more people who enroll in the exchanges established under the law, the more stable premiums become. And with the penalty for being uninsured becoming more severe this year, the reason more people might enroll is the individual mandate.

“The mandate is getting harsher, and that is the law’s tool to drive healthy people into the exchanges, which should help moderate premium increases. So one Republican talking point is working against another.”

“‘The individual mandate is the real wild card here. Some people point to the special enrollment period during tax season as an indication that the individual mandate is not looming large in people’s minds. But I think that is not a good test,’ said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. ‘I think 2016 will be the first real-world test of a tough individual mandate.'”

“Greater exchange-enrollment numbers not only will advance Obamacare’s goal of universal coverage, but also will impact its affordability to those already insured—and, subsequently, its popularity.”

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