Legislators in Massachusetts passed a bill yesterday that will require all individuals in the state to have health insurance coverage, just as motorists in most states are required to carry auto insurance. The new bill is designed to reduce the state’s 550,000 uninsured to zero within three years.
Here are some of the key points in the bill:
- Employers who don’t provide insurance will be charged $295 per worker per year
- Individuals below the federal poverty line of $9,600 in annual income will receive free coverage
- Insurance will be subsidized for those up to three times the federal poverty level
- The program will cost $316 million the first year and climb to $1 billion by the third year
- All but $125 million will come from state and federal funds already earmarked for healthcare
- After the third year, individuals who refuse to buy coverage will lose their state tax exemption . . . about $150 per person
- Monthly premiums will be about $200 per month for a single adults
What do you think about his concept? Add your comments below.
Here’s my take on this.
I think this is a great concept that needs to be pursued. Part of the problem with the healthcare system in America is the lack of personal responsibility. Our employer paid health insurance system has created an entitlement mentality where the Americans believe they are entitled to the best health care money can buy, but without having to pay for it out of their own pockets.
The problem with this is that WE DO PAY FOR IT.
We pay for our health care services in the form of:
- The additional raise in wages or salary we didn’t get last year
- The additional healthcare premiums we pay to cover those who don’t pay
- The additional out-of-pocket co-pays to cover those who don’t pay
- The additional cost of products and services we buy to cover the cost of health insurance for the employees who make those products and deliver those services
- The additional state taxes we pay to provide Medicaid for the low income residents of our state
- The additional hospital costs to pay to operate emergency rooms that treat everyone who comes in whether they have insurance or not.
The list goes on. There are many ways that you and I pay for the health care of others who don’t have insurance.
In my view this concept of requiring all residents of the United States to have health care coverage is the best alternative to a nationalized healthcare system. It’s a monumental undertaking with loads of challenges. But it’s an idea that is worth considering.
What Will This Mean to Home Health Agencies?
For one thing, it may mean that we’ll have to provide health care coverage for home health aides and non-medical caregivers who are not currently insured. That’s a good thing, but expensive.
It may mean that there will be more dollars available to provide home care services for people who do not now have access to our services. The bad news is, we’ll have to do business with more insurance companies at low reimbursement rates.
Let’s watch and see what happens in Massachusetts. In the mean time, let us read your comments below.