By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Bill Frist, the former Tennessee senator and senate Republican leader, endorses an individual mandate in today's U.S. News weekly edition. The idea of an individual mandate, which would legally require everyone to buy health insurance, has drawn fire from conservatives and Republicans in recent weeks. But Frist, a heart surgeon, writes that, "the only way affordable access can be achieved is for every citizen to have some type of health insurance." He writes that catastrophic insurance is "an appropriate place to start."
I believe in limited government and individual responsibility, cherish the freedom to choose, and generally oppose individual mandates—except where markets fail, individuals suffer, and society pays a hefty price. Let's face it, in a country as productive and advanced as ours, every American deserves affordable access to healthcare delivered at the right time. And they don't have it today.
It is time for an individual health insurance mandate for a minimum level of health coverage.
One of Frist's former colleagues, ex-House Majority Leader Dick Armey, writes for the opposing view, arguing that an individual mandate would be a boondoggle for health insurance lobbyists.