If Conservatives get their way and the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate to buy health insurance, it would be a real victory for them; but in the end, the last laugh may be with actual progressives. While in this case an individual mandate was used to expand health coverage, similar individual mandates are the cornerstone for corporatist plans to unravel the public social insurance systems created by the New Deal/Great Society.
The basic subsidies, exchanges and individual mandate design that defines the ACA are at the heart of many corporatists’ attempts to destroy/privatizes the programs progressives support the most.
There are are two main ways for the government to provide universal public goods. The first and normally best way is to have the government raise money through taxes and then use that money to directly provide the service to everyone. The other option is to create an individual mandate forcing everyone to buy the service from private corporations while having the government subsidize some of the cost. These needless middlemen mostly just increases costs for regular people and the government. This is why corporations love this setup and push hard for it.
- The way to destroy the Social Security retirement insurance program, it is to eliminate the universal public program and replace it with an individual mandate to buy only private retirement accounts. You can also eliminate Social Security’s public disability program by creating an individual mandate requiring everyone to buy subsidized private disability insurance.
- The way to destroy Medicare as we known it is to basically replace the Medicare’ single payer system with ObamaCare for everyone over 65. For all participial purposes this is effectively what Paul Ryan’s original plan to destroy Medicare was.
- You can replace our current unemployment insurance system with an individual mandate requiring everyone to buy only subsidized private unemployment insurance.
- It is possible to eliminate public school by replacing it with a voucher program and a mandate for everyone to buy education from only private schools.
If the Supreme Court rules against this individual mandate in a way that basically makes it legally impossible to replace most of our current public insurance systems with mandated private systems, that should be seen as a big silver lining for progressives.