The cost of the individual mandate is there and real, right now.
I had a life-threatening ear infection last year, a very crazy random thing that could have happened to anyone and, had I not had insurance, millions would have been absorbed by the system, not to mention bankrupting me.
Having health insurance is not a risk that one person can take for themselves. Much like helmet laws, the effect of the personal risk affects everyone.
Quote pulled from Perishable Democracy
In her written opinion on Obamacare Justice Ginsburg tells us why we are already being taxed for the uninsured through increased premiums from insurance companies.
“Unlike markets for most products, the inability to pay for care does not mean that an uninsured individual will receive no care. Federal and state law, as well as professional obligations and embedded social norms, require hospitals and physicians to provide care when it is most needed, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. As a consequence, medical-care providers deliver significant amounts of care to the uninsured for which the providers receive no payment.
Health-care providers do not absorb these bad debts. Instead, they raise their prices, passing along the cost of uncompensated care to those who do pay. In response, private insurers increase their premiums, shifting the cost onto those who carry insurance. The net result: Those with health insurance subsidize the medical care of those without it.
The size of this subsidy is considerable. Congress found that the cost-shifting just described “increases family [insurance] premiums by on average over $1,000 a year.” Higher premiums, in turn, render health insurance less affordable, forcing more people to go without insurance and leading to further cost-shifting. Congress therefore passed the individual mandate provision of the ACA to address an economic and social problem that has plagued the nation for decades.”