We have one teen-aged driver on our family automobile insurance plan and another on the way. The second one is a male and we all know what risk adjusters think of young, male drivers.

It has never occurred to my husband and me that it would be a good idea not to have auto insurance. We think it's an equally grand idea to purchase health insurance, and we're selfishly grateful to have employer-based coverage.

That's why I find it difficult to understand opposition to the so-called individual mandate in the federal healthcare reform law. As many as 25 legal proceedings across the United States are challenging the mandate to purchase health insurance: the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling in 2012.

A year after passage of the reform law, public opinion is mixed: most people like being able to keep dependent children on their policies until they are 25. They like the idea of insurance exchanges and allowing individuals to get coverage, despite their medical conditions. But when it comes to requiring that Americans actually purchase it, that's when support wanes dramatically.

Why is insurance OK for our cars, but not for our bodies. Automobile insurance is mandated by states while the health mandate would be a first for the federal government in imposing a product on citizens. While that is a critical difference, I can't help but think the health insurance mandate will ultimately be upheld as the wise and crucial part of reform that Congress envisioned in March 2010.

In the meantime, the passage of time may be on the side of proponents of the law. With each passing day, we're all getting a little more used to the reality of a country operating with a new set of rules on healthcare.

Six healthcare policy questions hanging in the balance as the United States votes

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