Should Congress be concerned with structuring an individual mandate to buy insurance and other health reform proposals so that they are not part of the federal budget, and therefore not considered a tax increase?
A Congressional Budget Office analysis issued May 27 suggested that such a mandate didn't have to be counted as part of the budget if premiums paid by individuals don't go through the government and there are sufficient private plan choices. For the entire analysis, click here.
How important is this distinction? Charges of big government and new taxes contributed to the death of health reform during the Clinton years, although the public has not been rebelling in recent months as the federal government becomes more involved in large, failing companies.
Also, how big is the federal government's financial risk if a mandate is included in the budget? Could it run into large federal expenditures in tough economic years, when more subsidies must go out but fewer premium payments are coming in?