Every citizen in the State of Massachusetts is hereby required to be covered by health insurance under a new law that imposes tax penalties for noncompliance. What? State-mandated health insurance? Penalties for the uninsured? The hell, you say!
What could very well end up being the model for a national health care plan, Massachusetts's's's's's' new plan will penalize those who can afford (someone needs to define "afford") health insurance but opt out of it and provide government subsidies to private insurance plans for those who can't. Bingo! More working poor will be covered, and, according to an article in The New York Times, more children will be eligible for free coverage.
Are you a Massachusetts business owner who employs more than 10 people? What? You don't provide insurance for your workers? Tsk! You will be fined up to $295 per employee per year under the universal plan. That's definitely not a big enough payout to make you not be a slumemployer, but it will, at least, be a thorn in your side to remind you, each year, what a scumbag you really are.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is all in favor of the plan. Oh, except for that little provision penalizing businessowners. Bah!
This nearly universal health care plan, funded by a mix of those penalized and the government, is projected to cover 515,000 uninsured people within three years, according to the Times article. Legislators say that's 95 percent of the state's uninsured.
Currently, the great State of Hawaii boasts the slimmest rate of uninsured: three percent. That's thanks to a 1974 universal access law that required employers to provide insurance to employees working 20 hours a week or more. Other states have tried and succeeded - only to quickly fail among a flurry of repealed statutory language.
Cowards. You're only hurting yourselves. It has long been understood that where there are insured people there is preventative health care. Where there is preventative health care, there are way fewer indigent people making emergency room visits they will never pay for. Where there are fewer unpaid emergency room bills and unpaid surgeries and treatments that could have been avoided with preventative care, there are lower insurance rates and lower costs of treatment. Vicious cycle, anyone?
To read about the state's first moment of clarity, click here.