Many recent health care reform proposals have included some form of “individual mandate” — a legal requirement that every citizen obtain adequate health insurance coverage. People who don’t receive coverage through their employer or some other group would be required to purchase their own individual coverage; failure to do so would result in fines or other penalties. This background report from the California Research Bureau looks at the pros and cons of the individual mandate — how many uninsured people would likely be covered, the costs of implementation, administration, and enforcement, and likelihood of compliance, based on similar policies in other areas (auto insurance, child support payments, immunizations).
As the Obama administration continues its push for health-care reform, many have voiced concern over the economic cost of enacting health-care reform during a time of economic crisis. Looking at the issue from another angle, the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education examines health coverage trends to calculate the costs of not acting on reform proposals. By 2012, they predict a possible increase of 4.2 million uninsured working-age adults in the United States and 600,000 uninsured working-age adults in California over pre-recession 2007 levels.
Federal welfare funding in California is dependent on a percentage of adult welfare recipients being employed at least part-time or engaged in “work-related activities.” A work participation rate under 50% can result in a loss of federal funding. Recent statistics indicate California falls far short of that rate. In this report, PPIC examines the potential effects of proposed policy changes (increasing the severity of sanction and time-limit policies) to improve this rate.