If the individual mandate were to be repealed and Americans were no longer required to purchase the Obamacare-mandated levels of health insurance coverage, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) believes that 15 million Americans would no longer purchase such coverage.
Some, including Jonathan Gruber, believe that the CBO is overestimating the impact of repealing the mandate. Gruber was one of the architects of the healthcare law.
Politically, the impact of these projections is significant since the individual mandate has long been the most unpopular part of Obamacare. Recent polling shows that two-thirds of Americans would like to see it repealed. For many, the idea of the government forcing anybody to buy anything is in conflict with America’s commitment to individual freedom.
Additionally, if the CBO projections are correct, there are 15 million Americans who would directly benefit from the repeal. Typically, when people are directly impacted by a law, their support or opposition is more intense than that of more casual observers.
On the other hand, if Gruber is correct, the Republican plans to repeal and replace Obamacare would have a much smaller impact than the CBO expects.
If the individual mandate were to be repealed, many Americans might be interested in purchasing less comprehensive and less expensive coverage. The CBO has offered no estimates of how many might take advantage of such alternatives. It is currently illegal for insurance companies to offer less expensive plans offering less comprehensive coverage.