C. Eugene Steuerle
Vice President, Peter G. Peterson Foundation

Mandates form an integral part of many proposals to expand health insurance coverage. Often, however, too little attention is paid to how and whether they can be administered. Administering Health Insurance Mandates finds that a mandate will be easier to administer when some or all of the following conditions are met: The mandate emphasizes facilitating compliance rather than penalizing noncompliance; It operates as a simple play-or-pay arrangement; It can accurately take advantage of regular withholding for most workers; It involves penalties that are moderate and collectable; It is coordinated with any subsidies and other public programs, including Medicaid; It is based upon other government payments that can be denied, such as tax benefits; It is applied only to those with more than low incomes, unless the penalty is denial of other benefits; Its size does not vary greatly with fluctuations in income, so any penalty can be collected currently and accurately.

Click here to download the full working paper, commissioned by a joint study panel of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the National Academy of Public Administration on Administrative Solutions in Health Reform. For a list of other papers and study panel members, click here. The project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Posted on: June 26, 2009

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