“The health law attempts to broaden the pool by offering financial assistance to middle-class people. By limiting how much people can be asked to pay for insurance, the law’s subsidies help make the purchase more attractive for healthier customers. That’s the law’s carrot.”
Then there’s the stick: The law says that if you don’t buy insurance, and you could have afforded it, you have to pay a fine. That rule is designed to discourage people from gaming the system by waiting until they’re sick. The mandate remains the law’s least popular provision.
New York is a great case study. Before Obamacare, it had the pre-existing conditions policy, but without subsidies or a mandate. When the Obamacare rules kicked in, premiums there went down by 50 percent.”