Don't Let Me Stop You

What the heck, you'll do what you want anyway.

Individual Mandate Toothless by Design?

Posted by Dan Draney on March 29, 2010

PLaplace remarks below on the bizarre lack of teeth in the ObamaCare “Individual Mandate.” I find it impossible to believe that no one noticed before the bill became law that the “mandate” is a nullity. This is not like the failure to actually cover children with pre-existing conditions that came out last week, which involves somewhat ambiguous language. This is right at the core of a key provision of the bill in language that appears to rule out enforcing the “mandate” by any means other than “pretty please with sugar on it.”

Now watch this peculiar performance by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), wherein he bobs and weaves in an apparently pointless, incomprehensible dance around the question of who enforces the mandate.

On the other hand, what if Weiner already knew a week ago about the “joke” enforcement provisions of this non-mandate.  Then he is laughing at O’Reilly and the Fox News audience, baiting them, and his behavior makes perfect sense (at least in his world).

So what did the Democrats know, and when did they know it? I assume this provision is right out of the Senate bill, so the text has been known since Christmas Eve. It’s possible that in the crazy rush to ram that through within hours of finalizing it, that this language was an error that slipped through. However, it’s unlikely to have been undetected in the intervening three months.

So, if they knew the effect of this language before passage, why wouldn’t they have “fixed” it? First of all, the House had to pass the Senate bill exactly, or it would go back to the Senate subject to filibuster, never to re-emerge. Of course, just getting the Senate bill through the House was already touch and go. As Nancy Pelosi was heard to say, “These things must be done delllllicately, or else you harm the spell.”

Of course, the individual mandate was never popular with the redistributionist crowd. It was one of those “conservative” ideas, they were forced to include, like making it look like they actually intend to pay for this. The foreseeable effects are as described by PLaplace: healthy people won’t buy insurance until they get sick. Rates will skyrocket, providing more evidence of the evil nature of insurance providers and another excuse for more federal intervention. It might have been inconvenient explaining that before the bill passed, but, afterwards, what’s not to like?


3 Responses to “Individual Mandate Toothless by Design?”

  1. ptg said

    As Nancy Pelosi said, we had to wait for them to pass this bill before we could find out what was in it. I expect the same will be true of the coming ‘Climate Bill’.

  2. PLaplace said

    There’s a column in the WSJ today on this topic ( According to McGurn, the provision that makes the mandate toothless might have been slipped in by a Republican, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada. That said, it still doesn’t explain Weiner’s performance above. It definitely begs the question whether Weiner knew about the provision, or was just being incredibly evasive. I normally have mixed feelings about Bill O’Reilly, but he was spot on in this clip. Kudos to him for holding Weiner’s feet to the fire.

  3. Dan Draney said

    I wondered if that’s what Pelosi meant, too, PTG. It’s risky to impute any logic to her statements, though.

    The McGurn article is a good one, lending credence to the idea that the Dems fully aware of this before the final cram down.

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