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Tuesday, December 19th 2006

Jump On The Romney Bandwagon

Looks like Illinois is trying to emulate Massachusetts’ “universal” coverage plan.

Recently, an Illinois task force followed the Bay State’s lead, endorsing a similarly ambitious–and breathtakingly expensive–plan to provide medical coverage to about 1.5 million uninsured residents.

As in the Massachusetts plan, every Illinois resident would be required to have insurance, through an employer or otherwise. Those who can afford it would be required to buy it. Those of limited means would be subsidized. Those who refused would be penalized.

Personal responsibility for insurance is a powerful, important concept that is gaining ground. Earlier this year, for instance, the American Medical Association backed a tax penalty for individuals and families who make enough to buy medical coverage but choose not to.

This is an intriguing plan which is gaining momentum. Remember the Urban Institute report which said that only (*rolls eyes*) 40% of those uninsured could actually afford it. That is still an impressive number. 40% of those uninsured do so with choice, or have poor grip on their finances, or are unaware of public assistance programs already in place that they should be utilizing. In any of the examples it is their irresponsibility which is inflating America’s uninsured figures (and straining our health care system).

The plan may turn out to be too expensive for Illinois, according to the op/ed. But the point remains, individual and employer mandates are reasonable things to employ in compromise solutions to the current unemployed situations.

H/T Kevin, MD