President Obama’s push for near-universal health insurance coverage may be harder to kill than most zombies.

If the Supreme Court decides to take a metaphorical stake to Obama’s health-care overhaul law and tosses the individual mandate out on the front steps of the court, there could still be life left in that battered and bruised corpse.

Bloomberg Government senior health policy analyst Peter Gosselin took a close look at various alternatives to the individual mandate, should the court rule against it. Gosselin’s study, “A Plan to Replace the Individual Mandate If the High Court Strikes It Down,” finds that a voluntary, auto-enrollment process — similar to that used to enroll employees in corporate 401(k) retirement plans –could be an effective substitute.

Gosselin found that “even if auto-enrollment performs at a lower level of its effectiveness in retirement savings, it could offset much or all of the non-group enrollment loss of six million people expected if the mandate is overturned.”

As important as the sheer numbers of people, the study found that auto-enrollment “could largely restore the mix of young and old, healthy and unhealthy people that the mandate was intended to ensure and that’s needed to make an insurance system work well.”

Depending on how the high court rules, we may need to rename the much fought-over law to Ozombie Care.

Matt Barry is a health analyst for Bloomberg Government focusing on Medicare, Medicaid, public health and prevention issues. Barry has more than 20 years of health policy experience in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, non-profits, private consulting and public affairs firms. This post first appeared at www.bloomberg.com

6 replies »

  1. You sound like a sound bite for China. Hello, some of us appreciate choice.

    Go help Obama with his spin come Monday.

  2. I really got angry this morning after reading the NYT’s article on ACA. In an article on ACA opinions, there’s a picture of a woman on page A14 and a quote: “I don’t think people should be required to have it. I think it should be a choice.” How did they sell us on this? Why is health care, something everyone obviously needs sooner or later – everyone – the thing they have convinced us should be an impulse buy?

    I decided that I don’t want to pay for the nuclear umbrella – the dozens of billion-dollar submarines, the spy satellites, the Strategic Air Command, the missle silos and navy nukes, the research and refining, etc. etc. It’s OK if you want it, but I don’t want to pay for it – they tell me the deficit is huge now. Plus no one is threatening to nuke me now, so I’ll be ok.

    But damn it I want health care, and I want everyone to have it, now!

  3. Wow, I can’t believe I missed that crap above. Let’s see, mandate, then, auto enrollment. It’s like what is the difference between the words stool and s–t. Only how you frame it in the sentence. In the end, they both stink!

  4. Zombies don’t care about politics, they just care about their next meal.

    Hmm, that does seem to mirror our politicians of late, at least in D.C.

    Yeah, some pictures and videos do show that glazed look in some representatives’ eyes. George Romero, your next film awaits!!!

  5. cute title ..

    may actually say more about some of the zombie ideas behind this legislation than the author intends …

    not so sure about the employer side of the argument