John McDonough points to some interesting, and encouraging findings on the new health care law:
Support varies for different elements: 88% support expanded MassHealth coverage for kids; 70% support requiring business to provide health insurance or to pay a penalty; 52% support requiring all uninsured residents to purchase health insurance.
The mixed support for the individual mandate is income related higher income folks support at much higher levels than lower income folks. The question was worded to suggest that the penalties will be assessed on everyone Chapter 58 actually requires that penalties for non-coverage only fall on those for whom purchase of coverage is not [must be a typo — “not” should be deleted] affordable (definition to be determined by board of the Connector next year).
The full report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation can be found here. (And no, I’m not at all convinced that the BCBS Foundation is a straight-up shill organization for the insurance industry. From what I know, it’s more complicated than that.)
John has consistently contended that the personal mandate will not fall on those least able to afford decent coverage. I have to think that he’s right about that: I cannot imagine anyone in the legislature getting excited about requiring folks making $30,000 a year to buy a $350/month health plan. But the question then remains: What do you do about those “doughnut hole” of folks who make between, say, $30,000 and $60,000 a year, and don’t have insurance? Are they just left out in the cold, as in the status quo? What is the income threshold for requiring someone to buy his/her own insurance — at great expense? What’s an “affordable” insurance plan for them? What about someone making $100,000 a year? You got a problem with making them get insurance?
And even more complicated, what’s the level of care to be expected from newly-created plans? Are they swiss-cheese plans, costing little and covering little; or does the state require more and therefore charge more?
This is why it matters who we elected Governor. We didn’t even have this discussion this fall, due to our media giving wall-to-wall coverage of Laguer and Songer and hypothetical garage-rapes. In any event, I sure am glad it’s going to be Governor Patrick weighing in on these issues — even if I don’t know for certain how he’ll act. Judging by the polls, he’s got quite a bit of wiggle room with the public in a variety of ways, including going easy on the personal mandate and perhaps even increasing the currently-laughable employer assessment.
In any event, it’s a big headache for all concerned.