The Spectacle Blog

Mass Care Not Working Out—Part XV

By on 1.30.07 | 3:08PM

According to the Boston Globe:

More than 200,000 people with health insurance would have to buy additional coverage to meet proposed minimum standards under the state's new health insurance law, according to a count completed by insurers yesterday.

Most of the individuals do not have coverage for prescription drugs or have drug coverage that is more restrictive than the minimum proposed by the state board implementing the law. The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector board is scheduled to vote on the standards in March. Individuals would face a fine of about $200 next year and more in future years, if they do not have insurance that meets the standards.

This is a really good article. It has so many of the elements of broad social policy, such as:

Unintended consequences:

"It's very troubling," said Richard Lord, president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts and a member of the Connector board. "The new law was about expanding access for people without any health insurance. I don't think we should be forcing people who do have some coverage to spend more."

Costs being more that what the politicians promised:

The minimum standards are still very much in flux. The board postponed a final decision last week because of concern about the cost of the basic plans. Many of the initial bids from insurers who hope to offer the plans carried premiums that the board considered unaffordable. Based on bids from insurers, the board estimated that a rough average premium would total $380 a month, far above the $200 cited by Governor Mitt Romney, before the health law was passed. The board added more requirements and then asked insurers to submit new bids with lower price tags.

And the academic who thinks he knows what's best for everyone esle:

Another board member, Jonathan Gruber, said: "It's a hard issue. There's a trade-off between making sure we have real coverage and minimizing disruption to the market."

Gruber, an MIT economics professor, said he was pleased with the board's proposal on drug coverage. But "we're very far away from finalizing this," he added. "My mind is still open."

Of course that begs the question of what constitutes "real coverage." But what are such trifling details when you have a society to transform?

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