No clear alternative to the individual insurance mandate in the healthcare reform law was found in an expert review conducted by the Government Accountability Office. A system of insurers offering less-frequent open enrollment and instituting late-enrollment penalties was the most common alternative healthcare experts named to the controversial individual mandate.
Late News: No clear alternative to individual mandate: GAO
The alternatives were collected from 41 healthcare experts at 21 organizations—including America's Health Insurance Plans, the health insurance industry's trade group, and the Urban Institute—at the request of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). Nelson said in a written statement that “Washington needs to explore the GAO report's alternatives and others to see if there is a successful way to improve healthcare reform.” The mandate is a consistently unpopular provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Only 22% of respondents supported it in a recent Harris Interactive and HealthDay poll, while 50% opposed it. The mandate also was declared unconstitutional by two federal judges, although three others upheld it. Those cases are on appeal. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and 36 other Republicans back a bill to put the law's implementation on hold until the Supreme Court rules on the mandate.
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