Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2014
One by one, the myths of the Affordable Care Act have been revealed. When the curtain on open enrollment falls on March 31, the last remaining big myth of ObamaCare will be fully exposed: The individual mandate has failed.
After a last-ditch effort with President Obama himself encouraging “young invincibles” to sign up before the deadline, the administration is scrambling to boost enrollment. On Tuesday, the White House announced that people who applied for coverage on the federal health-insurance exchange will have until mid-April to finish the paperwork.
The mandate was supposed to be the administration’s magical elixir for the assorted shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act. Disappointing early enrollment numbers? More people will sign up eventually to avoid mandate penalties. Potential premium spikes for government-approved coverage that must ignore cost differences in the age- and health-related risks of enrollees? Forcing young and healthy individuals to buy coverage will spread out the costs.