Saturday, September 19, 2009

Contradictions: Health Care Mandates & Fines

Sen. Barack Obama, Feb. 26, 2008, Democratic Primary Debate:

Now, I have no objection to Senator Clinton thinking that her approach is superior, but the fact of the matter is, is that if, as we've heard tonight, we still don't know how Senator Clinton intends to enforce a mandate, and if we don't know the level of subsidies that she's going to provide, then you can have a situation, which we are seeing right now in the state of Massachusetts, where people are being fined for not having purchased health care but choose to accept the fine because they still can't afford it, even with the subsidies.

And they are then worse off. They then have no health care and are paying a fine above and beyond that.
Sen. Max Baucus, Sept. 8, 2009, Health Care Compromise Proposal:
The fines would be the stick to enforce a proposed requirement that all Americans get health insurance, much as auto coverage is now mandatory. The penalties would start at $750 a year for individuals, and $1,500 for families. Households making more than three times the federal poverty level — about $66,000 for a family of four — would face the maximum fines. For families, it would be $3,800, and for individuals, $950.
Baucus's plan, if approved by President Obama, would essentially give the country the Massachusetts health care plan. That plan is bankrupting Massachusetts. It's been a failure on numerous fronts: costs have doubled since its inception, the state provides subsidies to people far above the level at which assistance is needed, and, in order to pay for unnecessary subsidies, MA is removing people (legal, taxpaying immigrants) from the program and changing the parameters of coverage to control costs.

Obama in 2008 says he would not have gone for this plan. He was right then: the people who need relief will be worse off; they still won't have coverage and they will be forced to pay a fine and still not receive coverage. But now he has left the drafting of legislation to Congress, and what he decried in Clinton's plan is a plan being put forward as a compromise.

If this plan is enacted, various citizens will: still not be covered, receive inferior coverage than they could already purchase but choose not to, and be subject to future limitations and/or denial of coverage when the government can't afford the coverage it promised people.

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