Because universal is what is plan ain’t. There’s a number I want you to think of when you hear the name Barack Obama. 15 million. Because that’s the number of people who would not be covered under Barack Obama’s health care plan. In case you didn’t know, unlike the Edwards and Clinton plan, Obama’s plan does not include a mandate that everyone be covered under their proposed health care system. Thus, in Obama’s plan some people are covered and some people are not. Why is this a problem? Paul Krugman explains:
Why have a mandate? The whole point of a universal health insurance system is that everyone pays in, even if they’re currently healthy, and in return everyone has insurance coverage if and when they need it.
And it’s not just a matter of principle. As a practical matter, letting people opt out if they don’t feel like buying insurance would make insurance substantially more expensive for everyone else.
Here’s why: under the Obama plan, as it now stands, healthy people could choose not to buy insurance — then sign up for it if they developed health problems later. Insurance companies couldn’t turn them away, because Mr. Obama’s plan, like those of his rivals, requires that insurers offer the same policy to everyone.
As a result, people who did the right thing and bought insurance when they were healthy would end up subsidizing those who didn’t sign up for insurance until or unless they needed medical care.