Expert Voices: The Role of Individual Mandates in Health Reform
Jonathan Gruber, PhD, Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
With 46 million people uninsured in America, providing access to health care for all has been touted as a critical goal for health reform in the new Administration. The role that individual mandates may play in the path towards universal coverage has been fiercely debated. Massachusetts legislated a mandate for adults in 2006, and an individual mandate features prominently in several national reform proposals. Despite broad attention being paid to the topic, much of the discussion of mandates has occurred without thorough consideration of the evidence. In this essay, Gruber explores the primary arguments for and against individual mandates and the challenges faced in their design and implementation. Then pulling strongly from the Massachusetts experience, he examines evidence on the effectiveness of individual mandates in practice.
Other recent Expert Voices essays include:
- Dan Mendelson, President, and Tanisha Carino, PhD, Vice President, Avalere Health, "Getting to Value" (July 2008)
- The Honorable David M. Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States, "Facing Up To America's Health Care Challenge" (March 2008)
- Donald M. Berwick, MD, President and CEO, Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI). "Reducing the Harm From Medical Care" (January 2008)