Where To Escape the Individual Mandate (Hint: Not Canada)

Good luck finding a country that does not have an individual mandate.

ByABC News
June 29, 2012, 5:48 PM

June 30, 2012 -- The Supreme Court's ruling upholding Obama's health care law on Thursday made some people so disillusioned with the United States that they posted on Facebook and Twitter that they were jumping ship and moving to Canada.

But Canada's health care system makes Obamacare look like the poster child for free market capitalism. Canada not only has an individual mandate requiring all residents to buy health insurance, but that insurance is government-run.

So if not America's northern neighbor, where can people looking for a reprieve from a government that will soon force them to buy health insurance turn?

Heading south to Mexico won't work. Nearly the entire Mexican population gets their health care from a Medicaid-like system funded by the government.

Europe isn't an option either. The health care systems in Britain, Denmark, Spain, Norway and Sweden are all funded by taxes much in the same way as public schools or the police force.

Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden all mandate that residents buy private insurance and those insurance companies are non-profits that are required to cover everyone and are highly regulated, giving governments the control to manage costs.

Even Singapore has a policy similar to Obamacare's individual mandate, requiring residents to set aside part of their incomes in personal savings accounts, which can be used to pay for health care.

"As far as I can tell, there's not really any developed country that doesn't have either a government-provided system or a mandate," said Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Libertarian Cato Institute who studies health policy.

Even with the individual mandate, the United States still has one of the most privately-run health care systems in the world, said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"We were very exceptional," Huang said of the U.S. "Among industrialized countries we were the only one that adopted the market-based system."

So where can people disillusioned by 'Obamacare' turn to find a country whose health care system has less government involvement than the United States?

"I can't name one," said Robin Osborn, vice president and director of The Commonwealth Fund's International Program in Health Policy. "It'd be more likely a third world country."

Haung suggested "maybe sub-Saharan Africa."