Health insurance mandates are a component of many health care reform proposals, but a federal mandate requiring that individuals transfer money to a private party is unprecedented. This paper analyzes whether Congress can legislate a health insurance mandate and the potential legal challenges that might arise given such a mandate.
The Constitution permits Congress to legislate a health insurance mandate. Congress can impose a tax on those that do not purchase insurance, or provide tax benefits to those that do purchase insurance.
This white paper is part of the Legal Solutions in Health Reform project. It was created by the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. The project aims to identify practical, workable solutions to the legal issues that may arise in any upcoming federal health reform debate.
Keywords: Mandates, Legal issues/reforms, Federalism, Regulation, State models for national reforms, Cost reform ideas, Employer contributions, Play-or-pay