California lawmakers on Monday voted to bring back Obamacare’s “individual mandate,” a rule that requires all Americans to buy health insurance and penalizes those who don’t.
All Democrats in California’s State Assembly except one (Rudy Salas Jr.) voted in favor of the bill. Every single Republican voted against it.
The individual mandate is designed to attract more participants in order to lower costs; but as we saw with Obamacare, all it did was impose further financial difficulty on people who couldn’t afford monthly premiums.
A handful of states have decided to reinstate the mandate since it was overturned by Congress in 2017, but but California is the only one that plans to use revenue from the policy to provide subsidies for middle-class residents who earn too much to qualify for financial help through Obamacare.
“These new subsidies will impact almost 1 million Californians and help them get the healthcare access that they deserve,” says California lawmaker Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).
What Democrats fail to understand is that the people who aren’t buying health insurance probably can’t afford it. In 2014, more than 80% of Californians who paid the individual mandate penalty had taxable incomes of $50,000 or less.
“This trailer bill will take money away from people making $30,000 to $50,000 a year and give it to people making between $75,000 and $130,000 a year,” argues California lawmaker Jay Oberolte (R-LA).
The penalty is expected to generate $295 million this year and up to $380 million in 2022.
California lawmakers this week also approved a measure to expand government-funded healthcare to some undocumented immigrants even though the mandate penalty won’t apply to illegal residents.