Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Massachusetts mandates health insurance for all citizens

BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday that would make Massachusetts the first state to require that all its citizens have some form of health insurance.

The plan — approved just 24 hours after the final details were released — would use a combination of financial incentives and penalties to dramatically expand access to health care over the next three years and extend coverage to the state's estimated 500,000 uninsured.

If all goes as planned, poor people will be offered free or heavily subsidized coverage; those who can afford insurance but refuse to get it will face increasing tax penalties until they obtain coverage; and those already insured will see a modest drop in their premiums.

The measure does not call for new taxes but would require businesses that do not offer insurance to pay a $295 annual fee per employee.

Well, very interesting and I mean that without sarcasm. I hope other states are watching this and seriously considering it. The combination of business mandates and personal responsibility to be insured or face financial penalties is unique.



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