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DavidV

Mandatory Health Insurance In Massachusetts

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I do, because Mass. is far, far to the left of most of the country. It is the state that elected to looney anti-American propagandists to the Senate--Ted Kennedy and Kerry.

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I do, because Mass. is far, far to the left of most of the country. It is the state that elected to looney anti-American propagandists to the Senate--Ted Kennedy and Kerry.

Good point. :)

The rest of the states can't be NEARLY as stupid. (But, I've been known to be wrong before)

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I noted that possible presidential contender Mit Romney apparently supports this measure. Just another example of how the Republicans offer no good alternative to the Democrats.

This plan has disaster written all over it..... another blow to American freedom.

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Not only does the Republican governor support the plan, but it is also not designed in the traditional socialist mold. It is a typically fascist design in that it leaves providers "free". It would not be surprising to learn that some folks in the healthcare industry are happy to see this plan.

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Just another example of how the Republicans offer no good alternative to the Democrats.

I just can't agree with this. While their policies may be similar, Republican policies are marginally better. They may not be pro-business and pro-capitalist, but they are less anti-capitalist than Democrats. And while Republicans offer a poorly fought war, Democrats offer a white flag.

Having said that, I was disappointed to read that story this morning, but not surprised. I can only hope that, if this is to continue happening, it does so on a state-by-state basis, rather than going national.

In fact, that's another reason I tend to support Republicans over Democrats. Though their policies may be similar, Republicans are more likely to let the states decide, rather than force their misbegotten ideas on the whole country.

Edited by Moose

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While their policies may be similar, Republican policies are marginally better. They may not be pro-business and pro-capitalist, but they are less anti-capitalist than Democrats.
Communist-type controls appear to be more business-friendly that national-socialist type controls. The former say: you cannot keep your business. The latter say: you can keep your business as long as you do the right thing, according to our standard. The real measure would be the extent to which private disposition is removed, not the degree of the charade.

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Anti-Capitalist is anti-Capitalist. It's like choosing which type of slavery you want. Though I begrudgingly admit that I vote Republican generally because it is the lesser of two evils, usually.

Still, if Massachusetts really wanted to "help" with healthcare costs, they'd ban smoking outright as well as drinking and order everyone to have a certain BMI. But we know that will never happen as they rely on the "sin taxes" and don't want to offend the <tounge firmly planted in cheek> calorically engbled American community. Of course, that would so obviously quash freedom that people would rebel. And the pull pushers don't want that.

Plus, could you see them saying "no more Guiness" to the people of Boston. :) I guess the Kennedy clan could go back into the illegal booze running business. God knows they haven't had real jobs in generations for the most part.

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One could probably try to make a Ninth Amendment argument, but with the state of Scotus, it's not likely to succeed - Scotus has taken to recognizing only those rights enumerated in the Constitution, and overlooking the Ninth Amendment. See Roe v. Wade for a dramatic example - creating a 'right to privacy' out of the 'penumbras' of various other Constitutionally-enumerated rights, instead of taking a person's right to their own body as one of those "reserved by the people" under the Ninth Amendment.

(Also, Congress and the President are allowed to pass any law they can make up, even if it is unconstitutional. It must be challenged in the court system before it can be struck down.)

Another interesting twist on the MA health insurance thing: If a large corporation spends more money than $295 on health insurance per employee in MA, they would do better to drop health insurance coverage for their MA employees and just pay the $295/yr fine.

-Q

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If a large corporation spends more money than $295 on health insurance per employee in MA, they would do better to drop health insurance coverage for their MA employees and just pay the $295/yr fine.
Good point. I wonder what kind of coverage $300 a year buys. From what I know, it's more like a few $1000 a year for the typical family to get semi-decent health insurance.

Not much has been written about the details of the law.

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I think this is one important thing that the left keeps forgetting. A company that was only looking for the cheapest way out possible meeting the bare regulatory minimums will cut their company health insurance and dump them onto the state sponsored plan. Lesse, a few hundred thousand people being added to the high quality state healthcare system, stir, and viola'! You've got England but with modern dentistry.

Now isn't this the thing that the left compains about WalMart? Still, this is a case of the chickens coming home to roost. What will happen is what is happening in Canada; only the richest people can afford really good healthcare without a loooong wait.

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This may be a naive comment seeing as how I'm Canadian, but doesn't that bill go against the constitution? How are they allowed to pass it?

No, it's not naieve at all. Especially since the equivalent to the Supreme Court in Canada last year concluded that the healthcare policy in one of your provinces (Quebec?) was unconstitutional and killing people... these were the actual words that were printed on the front of the National Post!! (The province I am speaking of is the one that did not allow people to buy private health insurance. If I am correct, I think it was Quebec).

You know, it seems odd to me that the Canadians have gotten the idea, but Americans haven't. I guess you have to hit rock bottom before you can come up again?

Edited by Liriodendron Tulipifera

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It wasn't as great as it looked, they just allowed private insurance if a court deems it an emergency. And again, just in Quebec. The official stance amoung most people here is that paying for things is immoral.

But I'm really surprised about this law; I never thought that kind of stuff could happen. I guess I had this idea of the constitution protecting people.

Edited by MightierPen

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Let's not forget we are talking about Massachusetts here. You cannot extrapolate to America from the state that hates America the most.

I'm so glad I don't live there anymore. :P

Not that CT is better. :P

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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.

It would probably be cheaper to pay the fine. When I was working in NYC the healthcare would have cost $292 a month for the group health plan we had in the office.

Overall the voters and taxpayers should vote with their feet. Luckily we still have the freedom to move within the United States (although maybe Taxachusetts may outlaw this soon as well) and businesses and businessmen should start looking at other options as far as new places to do reside.

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Let's not forget we are talking about Massachusetts here. You cannot extrapolate to America from the state that hates America the most.

This was my point essentially in my initial reply, although I don't know if Mass hates the country any more than several other including Cali., NY, and my own great state of Michigan.

Overall the voters and taxpayers should vote with their feet. Luckily we still have the freedom to move within the United States (although maybe Taxachusetts may outlaw this soon as well) and businesses and businessmen should start looking at other options as far as new places to do reside.

This is a little off-topic but I read a story a couple of years ago how Mass tried to sue New Hampshire and force them to enact an alcohol tax because they claimed that they were "losing revenue" because their residents were crossing state lines to buy their alcohol in N.H. since there is no tax. It's insane. :dough: I've used that emoticon a lot today... :P

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Thanks for the links, GC and IntelAmmo.

The full impact of the law will be clear once people have studied the (145-page) bill. For, now, after skimming some of it, here is my summarized understanding of the plan [E&OE]:

  1. Of a population of 6.3 million, MA has about 530K people with no health-insurance and who are nevertheless not covered by the government's "MassHealth" scheme. I'm guessing these are people who aren't poor enough to qualify for government [Medicaid] coverage, but are poor enough not to afford their own coverage.
  2. Chances are that many of these people do without some healthcare and go to emergency rooms for other healthcare. Sometimes serious health problems bankrupt these people; but, often costs end up being paid for by the government or by private insurers to whom costs are "passed".
  3. The new plan hopes to do the following

  • Cover an additional 92,000 children under "MassHealth", by raising the eligibility from 2-times the poverty level, up to 2-times ($38,000 for a family of 2, $48,000 for a family of 3, etc.)
  • Cover an additional 210,000 people under a new scheme, named "Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Program" (CCHIP), which will be a state-run health-plan. [see below]

To ensure that people are covered, the law mandates that all citizens must have coverage. If they do not have it through their employers, or through Medicaid etc., they will have to get it privately or through CCHIP. Those who do not will forfeit the Mass State Tax exemption. (From what I can tell, the exepmtion is $3500 and the tax-rate is 5.3%; so, this is a penalty of about $185 for the year.) In later tax-years (2008?) the penalties for not buying coverage will be much more steep

This new Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Program will work as follows:

  1. Those at 1-time the poverty level or below will pay ZERO premium and have ZERO deductible (est. 65,000 individuals)
  2. Those under 3-times the poverty level will pay will pay premiums on a "sliding scale", according to their ability to pay. The state will subsidize the rest. They will have a ZERO deductible (estimated 150,000 individuals)
  3. Others [215,000 individuals], who are not eligible at these income-levels, and who do not currently have employer coverage will have to buy their own coverage, as stated above.
  4. Each employer of more than 11 people [or the equivalent of 11 full-time workers, in terms of hours], will pay $300 [well $295] per employee [or per 2000 employee hours] per year, to the plan. This will be known as the "Fair-share" charge.
  5. The government will record healthcare subsidies and uncovered charges provided to employees of such employers. If the total charges for in any year are over $50,000, the employer will have to pay a "Free Rider Surcharge". The amount of the surcharge depends on how many other employees were employed, how much healthcare they used, and so on. The exact calculations are yet to be set forth. (I'm fuzzy on the details here; it might have purposely been left a bit fuzzy.)

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Thanks for the links, GC and IntelAmmo.
Agreed. Great links.

To ensure that people are covered, the law mandates that all citizens must have coverage. If they do not have it through their employers, or through Medicaid etc., they will have to get it privately or through CCHIP. Those who do not will forfeit the Mass State Tax exemption. (From what I can tell, the exepmtion is $3500 and the tax-rate is 5.3%; so, this is a penalty of about $185 for the year.) In later tax-years (2008?) the penalties for not buying coverage will be much more steep

I'm still trying to figure out the math but I think I've got a decent grasp. I still think it may very well be a LOT cheaper to just cut all your employees healthcare. My employer has close to 2000 employees and we have a self administered health plan. Actually, doing that is a bit risky but if your company is relatively young and you don't have a large number of expensive claims, it's much cheaper and better for everyone. I think the cost per employee for a couple is around $200 or $300 a month. The company I seem to remember picks up the overwhelming majority of the cost still.

So I can't see why an employer from a straight fiscal standpoint wouldn't cancel private insurance. Mind you, that is completely ignoring the costs associated with having sick employees who get poor state run healthcare, the added cost to out-of-work time associated with either state run clinics/hospitals and the handful of private doctors that would accept the insurance. One of my clients says a good 30% of his staff does nothing but deal with private insurance companies. Forget about dealing with medicare/medicaid. Actually, having decent private healthcare would be a real selling point.

That's one of the reasons so many doctors are tranistioning to ala carte healthcare for their patients. Like Canada is experiencing now, the wealthy who can afford ala carte or traveling to the US for treatment are getting good treatment. I wish people would realize that added government controls just result in an

incresed
sepeartion between classes. argh.

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Let's not forget we are talking about Massachusetts here. You cannot extrapolate to America from the state that hates America the most.

Yet another reason the term "Masshole" should remain in use. When I take my trip out there in a couple months, I'll have to put on an extra coat of statist-block.

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I'm just hoping I can get out of here before the health insurance police come kicking in doors to check for proof of insurance. I don't have any.

<cower>

-Q

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