NPR, February 7, 2011

Both supporters and opponents of the health overhaul law routinely refer to the requirement that most people get health insurance or pay a penalty as the measure's "linchpin." But is it? Not everyone thinks so. "The biggest fear is that without mandatory health insurance there will be no incentive for people to buy health insurance until after they're sick, and then the system won't work," says Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a California-based advocacy group that supports the law, but opposes mandatory health insurance. "I would take issue with that." Court says the biggest problem with health insurance is that it costs too much. He thinks that rather than having a mandate --- which, he point out, is highly unpopular with the public in both parties --- more people would buy insurance if only the cost were lower. Mostly, says Court, states could be given more power to ensure that insurance companies can't impose premium increases that are unjustifiably large.
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