By John McClaughry
A bill on its way to Gov. Scott’s desk (H.696) will create a working group to design an individual mandate to purchase state-approved health insurance. As with any mandate, the key question is, or else what?
The bill doesn’t dare say what the penalty should be for not obeying the mandate, but the working group — almost certain to be dominated by friends of coercive single-payer health care — will tell us next January just what burning tire to hang around the neck of a Vermonter who wants no part of this equally coercive mandate.
The 2005 Legislature passed a wretchedly crafted single-payer bill containing a section entitled “Individual Health Effort Tax.” This new tax was to be levied on all individual Vermonters at the rate of 1 percent of federal adjusted gross income, but exempting people who had state-approved health insurance. Gov. Douglas vetoed it.
When this year’s bill lands on the governor’s desk, which could happen any day now, he needs to get it that “individual mandate to purchase health insurance” requires a penalty for non-compliance, and that penalty will almost certainly be a revived Individual Health Effort Tax.
Since Gov. Scott relishes vetoing new taxes, he needs to nip this new tax program in the bud and let the legislators who bought into this mandate scheme think about how they’ll explain their votes to override his veto when they’re out campaigning this fall.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.