White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday there was a "pretty simple" choice for Americans regarding the Obamacare individual mandate: Sign up for health insurance or pay Uncle Sam a $700 fine.
Americans are facing spiking premiums at an average of 25 percent on midlevel plans for the states served by federal exchanges. In addition, there are fewer insurers and thus fewer choices for consumers after major carriers like Humana and UnitedHealth scaled back or withdrew from the exchanges.
Facing questions about the rising costs, Earnest reaffirmed the point of the individual mandate was to spread costs around. He suggested it made little sense for Americans to pay the penalty rather than purchase insurance.
"All of this is particularly important when you consider that the penalty that is imposed for people who don't sign up for health care is quite significant," he said. "This year, it's about $700, and I think our argument is pretty simple, which is why would you pay $700 to Uncle Sam when you don't need to? You can avoid having to make that $700 payment if you go and sign up for health care, which of course also affords you a variety of benefits that protect you and your family in the event of illness."
The White House is particularly targeting young Americans to sign up for Obamacare in the next enrollment period.