COMMENTARY | Health care reform is long overdue. If you have ever had to face seeing a doctor without health insurance, you'll know that costs are out of control.
As a stay-at-home mom, I've had to purchase my health insurance privately; the price is astronomical and the amount of coverage is minimal. I am ready to see big changes in this country's health care system and the individual mandate that would require everyone to have insurance is definitely part of that change.
Broad participation drives down cost: I used to work in commercial property insurance where I became familiar with the term "adverse selection." Adverse selection refers to the tendency for those only in a high-risk situation to buy insurance. This means that premiums will have to be higher to cover all that risk.
However, if there is a balance of higher-risk customers with lower-risk customers, the cost for insurance will go down. The same applies to health insurance. If the market works as it should, insurance companies should be able to lower their premiums and offer better coverage for lower costs.
Preventative medicine: If I am able to visit a doctor regularly and maintain my health, it greatly drives down the chance that I'll have to make that trip to the emergency room because a condition has gotten out of control. Catching that cancer or heart condition early in a wellness visit may be infinitely better than discovering them much later.
In addition, according to The Washington Post: "The average family pays an additional $1,000 annually in the form of higher premiums to subsidize the costs incurred by those who receive care but do not carry insurance."
I will be watching intently, along with many others as to how this pans out. The individual mandate is a smart solution and, as Massachusetts has proved, it can work.