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 couldnâ€™t afford it would undermine public support. Some had threatened to lead protests against the law.
I can understand their point, but Iâ€™d prefer if there were no exemptions. The best thing would be to get universal coverage and then have â€œpublic supportâ€ to do whatâ€™s needed to reform the system in order to keep that coverage. Instead, we may be setting a precedent for further exemptions â€“after all premiums are likely to continue rising faster than wages.
Still, if we actually achieve 98 or 99 percent coverage, thatâ€™s effectively a universal level.