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On April 12, Massachusetts Governor Romney signed into law a plan to extend health insurance coverage to the state's nearly 500,000 uninsured people. How? The law makes health insurance compulsory, like auto insurance. Every "body" is required to have it. The law also requires the state government to figure out ways to make sure insurance is available and theoretically affordable to employers and individuals. 

At first, the new law resulted in tons of favorable media coverage and general jubilation. Since then, on closer scrutiny, Massachusetts’s law has sparked debate, and not all of it is complimentary. Why?

Check out the fact sheet and a sampling of responses (including from Oregon’s John Kitzhaber) to find out more, and post your comment's on the new law below. Would the Massachusetts plan work in Oregon? Is it a first step, a backwards step, a giant leap forward or something else?

And consider: no matter what you think about the details of the law, Massachusetts’s action highlights the pivotal role states can play in generating momentum for change.

Here is a view from the Health Care Blog with folks from Massachusetts weighing in.

More links:

DB's Medical Rants opinion on the Massachusetts Plan.
Andrew Sullivan takes not one, but two looks at the the Massachusetts experiment.
And the EconLog takes a quick look at the economic considerations of this plan.

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Join the dialogue here

May 5, 2006 8:44:54 AM
sweet lou says

Even though I was initially excited by all the positive media associated with the Massachusetts plan, a closer look reveals little more than legislative sleight of hand. A law requiring people to have insurance “solves” the issue of the uninsured with the same circular logic that solves homelessness by making it crime to sleep outside. Until people can actually afford insurance, and can afford to access quality healthcare on a continuous basis, this law is just another paper tiger.

May 8, 2006 12:31:32 PM
Will says

Small businesses should be encouraged to include health care coverage for their lower wage employees. One way to do this would be to give credit for health care coverage towards meeting minimum wage requirements. For example, if coverage worked out to $1 per hour, minimum wage employees could received $1 less cash per hour and would have health insurance.

May 12, 2006 12:36:43 PM
Tess Yevka says

So, minimum wage earners loose $1.00 and hour per month. That could make the difference between having breakfast for your children or not. It might mean no milk, or that the kids have to wear shoes that are too small. Maybe you feed the kids but the heat gets turned off. For some, their budget is so tight that any loss of income means necessities are lost.

May 30, 2006 2:19:25 PM
Carol says

Requiring people to have health insurance is only half of the equation. You also need to require insurers to take all comers, just like they do now when they sell group insurance. This is true risk pooling and should result in lower costs overall.

Apr 9, 2008 12:53:41 PM
ruby says

thats cool i didnt know that i guess now i know but im glad i have to do current events every day or eles i wouldnt know alot about health but i guess my health teacher is right there is allways room for health

Apr 4, 2009 2:12:42 PM
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