Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A start, but a false start?

OK, last one for the morning, I promise.
 
Massachusetts's (am I the only one who hates spelling that?) legislature just passed a law requiring health insurance the same way states require car owners to purchase car insurance--you have to have it, or you have to pay a fine.  From the Boston Globe.  I can't find a copy of the bill online, but I haven't really put a lot of time into it either.
 
The bill passed overwhelmingly in the Mass. House, and unanimously in the Senate.  So, apparently, it's popular.
 
My question is, is it fair to require people to purchase health care, like people do for a car.  Owning/operating a car is optional.  Not everywhere, not all the time, but it's a choice one can make or not.  Having a body doesn't fall under the "optional" category.  The most expensive programs are around $250 a month, and the least expensive, nearly free--according to the story.  What I worry about are unintended consequences.
 
What happens when Mass. businesses start switching over to cover only the cost of the least expensive program--and have their employees pick up the rest?  How will that impact people working in Massachusetts?  Yes, it will help corporate profits--but how many Massachusettans own those shares?  Will the increased stock price result in sufficiently greater earnings for those people to offset rising health care costs for their families?  I'm not so sure.  Massachusetts is a state full of smart people: Harvard, and MIT, and Good Will Hunting are all natives.  I would just like someone to talk through the consequences of the bill for the rest of us "normal" people to understand.

1 comment:

ramblingbarrister said...

The bill is at:

http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/house/ht04/ht04850.htm

and the summary is here:

http://www.mass.gov/legis/summary.pdf