Individual Mandates in Health Care Reform Law

By Rep. Steve Austria

As you may know, the recently passed health care law includes a provision that will require individuals to enroll in a health insurance program. The individual mandate provision will go into effect on January 1, 2014. At that time, 19 million additional Americans will be required to enroll in a health insurance program. Most of the details surrounding the implementation of individual mandates will be left up to the states to decide, including creating exchanges, educating the public, and organizing an enrollment structure and process.

In response to the new law, voters in Missouri recently passed a measure that would block the health insurance mandates included in the law. While Missouri is the first state to take such action, other states, including Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma are expected to consider similar measures in November.

The sweeping regulations and mandates in the new law have also generated activity in Congress. Congressman Ted Poe has introduced a bill, that I cosponsored, which prohibits the use of funds to enforce the Federal mandate to purchase health insurance. As the implementation of the new health care law moves forward, it is important that the process is carefully monitored, and the American people stay well-informed regarding the law’s potential impact on their personal health care.

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