For Consumers

Statement by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler on House vote to delay the individual mandate

Contact Public Affairs: 360-725-7055

July 17, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Note: The U.S. House of Representatives is voting this week on a one-year delay of the individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health coverage, starting next year. The penalty for not having coverage would be $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater.

“Delaying the mandate would be unwise. It’s an issue of personal responsibility. It’s unfair for people who can afford coverage to not have it, and to expect the rest of us to cover the cost of their care if they become seriously sick or injured. ”

“A critical part of the Affordable Care Act was the provision requiring that insurers take all applicants. No more screening out people because they have pre-existing medical conditions. But to make that work, you have to have as many people as possible in the insurance pool.

“Without an individual mandate to have coverage, people would likely just buy insurance when they knew they needed it. That’s like letting people get homeowners insurance only when their house catches fire.”