Massachusetts is about to become the first state to mandate health insurance. The bill, which the Governor commits to signing, attempt to provide universal care by making it the responsibility of both employers and individuals to get themselves insured. Key elements include:
- An annual fee assessed to businesses with more than 10 employees who do not offer employees health coverage.
- Those fees are what, presumably, pays for the state to subsidize insurance companies to offer low-cost, "scaled-back" health plans for the poor.
- And perhaps most controversially: a tax penalty to people who "can afford" inusrance, but don't have it.
That latter point almost treats health insurance like car insurance. Only "almost" because, at least here in California, you cannot legally drive without car insurance.
I'm a little concerned by the idea of charging people who "can afford it" but don't buy health insurance, because i haven't seen anything that defines the criteria for that. Have any of you?
Anyway, this will obviously be a huge test case. They expect to cover 95% of the state's currently uninsured by the year 2007...next year. That would be pretty damn amazing if it works.
Thoughts?Updated: You can find other thoughts by visiting our friends at InsureBlog.