Hoist Them on their own Petard: Trigger the Mandate

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

We kept hearing about Triggers and State Opt-Ins and State Opt-Outs … for the Public Option. Its time to move an amendment to the Individual Mandate that triggers it, with an Opt-Out. Note that these can be split into two Amendments, as the Opt-Out works with or without the Trigger.

(1) The Individual Mandate is triggered when everyone subject to the Mandate in a state has available to them insurance from a not-for-profit entity, and excluding all entities owned by for-profit entities, at a premium after any public subsidy of less than 5% of their annual income.

(2) Before the Individual Mandate can come into force in any state, a measure approving the individual mandate must be placed on the ballot in the next Federal general election, and the mandate must obtain a simple majority of votes cast.


The Trigger. Like all triggers, it is designed to never actually fire, but if there is insurance from a not-for-profit entity, excluding not-for-profit shells owned by commercial corporations, and available to everyone subject to the mandate at a premium after any public subsidy of less than 5% of their annual income, then that is something that it is reasonable to mandate that people buy.

The Opt-Out. And of course, if an individual mandate is put to a vote, it is likely to fall, unless there’s something else really sweet included in the measure to persuade people. And, after all, that’s the problem – the insurance companies rejecting a package deal of public option and mandate, and thinking it’d be better to pick and choose, á la carte.

Ordinary folk pay more for the privilege of á la carte, but they figure they aint ordinary people – they’s a corporation, a fictitious person amounting to a group of people swearing allegiance to a pile of money, and if they want to order á la carte and pay a lower price as well, they should get it.

The Politics Of This

What is needed for passage is 11 Democratic Senators and every Republican Senator. Because if any Republican votes against EITHER amendment, that Republican Senator OWNS the individual mandate – as they rightfully should, since the individual mandate to buy services from a commercial corporation is strictly in service of their corporate lords and masters.

Win or lose on the Amendments, Progressive Democrats win in proposing the Amendments, since either we take a bill to conference with neither mandate nor public option, strengthening the hand of House Conferees to insist on both or neither, or else the Senate Republicans own political responsibility for the individual mandate as it now stands, as well they should.

Pettifogging Details

I posted the draft for this at Daily Kos, in hopes that quibblers would bring my attention to what kind of thing quibblers would quibble about.

The only point raised was the legal standing of a National Referendum, but this is, of course, not a National Referendum, but a state by state one. The actual text of the amendment may need text about “as provided for under the Constitution of that State”. Some states might require the legislature to act to put it on, others a signature campaign, others might require a State Constitutional Amendment to allow it to be placed on … well, we have a Federal Republic, after all. Until placed on the ballot and passed at a Federal Election, the Mandate cannot take effect – that’s the main thing.


This idea inspired by someone who helped make it necessary:


    • BruceMcF on December 18, 2009 at 02:15


    Beside defying media too fast

    Instead of pushing palaces to fall

    Put that, put that, put that before all

    That this isn’t fortunate at all

    • TomP on December 18, 2009 at 16:03

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