Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Massachusetts health insurance

The law, enacted in April after the Massachusetts Legislature overrode vetoes by Gov. Mitt Romney (R), requires all state residents to purchase health insurance by July 1, 2007. In addition, among other provisions, the law will require employers in the state with 11 or more employees to provide coverage for workers or pay an annual fee of $295 per worker; establish a low-cost, state subsidized health insurance program for residents with annual incomes less than 300% of the federal poverty level; and expand Medicaid coverage for state residents

The state’s poorest — single adults making $9,500 or less a year — will have access to health coverage with no premiums or deductibles.
Those living at up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $48,000 for a family of three, will be able to get health coverage on a sliding scale, also with no deductibles....Individuals deemed able but unwilling to purchase health care could face fines of more than $1,000 a year by the state if they don’t get insurance.

I wonder if the lawmakers passed this bill because they wanted to help their citizens, or to save taxpayer money on emergency medical care. Apparently, if someone has a large expense, like a large car or house repair bill, and can't pay their medical insurance, they will be fined. What happens if they can't pay the fine? The news articles on this bill really leave a lot of questions.

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