The 98 percent solution

Looks like Massachusetts will exempt about 1 or 2 percent of the population from the requirement to buy insurance. Their income is considered too low to be able to afford coverage but too high to receive a subsidy. Business groups generally wanted few or no exemptions while some community activists wanted broader exemptions. According to the Boston Globe

The new proposal adopts some of the recommendations offered by a coalition of advocacy, labor, and medical groups, which had argued that applying the insurance mandate to people who couldn’t afford it would undermine public support. Some had threatened to lead protests against the law.

I can understand their point, but I’d prefer if there were no exemptions. The best thing would be to get universal coverage and then have “public support” to do what’s needed to reform the system in order to keep that coverage. Instead, we may be setting a precedent for further exemptions –after all premiums are likely to continue rising faster than wages.

Still, if we actually achieve 98 or 99 percent coverage, that’s effectively a universal level.

April 12, 2007

One thought on “The 98 percent solution”

  1. Can’t you see where this is going, David?

    I’m reminded of an old SNL sketch with Tom Hanks as a crooked electronics retailer and Mike Myer’s as the ripped-off customer returning a “walk-man”.

    Myers: “You told me this walkman had Sony guts!”

    Hanks: “No, is LIKE Sony Guts!”

    Myers: “Nooooo….. it’s a child’s toy…. AND it’s broken”

    Thus,

    “Did we say ‘Universal’? We meant LIKE universal!”

    best,

    Flea

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