Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Issue of Mandatory Insurance

This past Tuesday, voters in the state of Missouri issued a resounding "no" to the notion of mandatory health care. 71% of those who cast ballots voted in favor of Proposition C, which although not legally binding forbids the government from implementing in 2014 a key provision of the recently passed federal health care initiative. Namely, the portion requiring all citizens to purchase health insurance, penalizing those who don't.

Specifically, the law mandates a fine of $95 or up to one percent of an individual's income, whichever is greater, if they do not buy health insurance. This will increase to a minimum of $750 or up to 2.5% of an individual's income by 2016. Families will face a fine up to $2,085 or 2.5% of household income. The one that is the greater amount will be the one assessed. Collection of fines will be through the IRS.

Putting it mildly, the notion of mandatory health insurance is a hot-button issue. Supporters of the measure see this as a necessary element to offset the increased costs that will take place under the bill's mandate to make health insurance available to most everyone. Those opposed to the bill view it as a violation of Constitutional rights. There's not much in the way of common ground. In fact, there's none at all.

That all said, mandatory insurance has been around for a while. Not mandatory health insurance, but rather for auto. In California it's been the law for several years.

Some thoughts on this next week.

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