Fine for insurers, fines for individuals

OToday, there’s a story in the Los Angeles Times by Jordan Rau that talks about what the Governor’s office is thinking with regard to enforcing their “individual mandate,” including trying to find people though data matching and using fines and other collections techniques.

Let’s be clear: there’s lots of problems with the “individual mandate,” starting with the premise that there’s lots of folks who don’t want health coverage, before you ever get to the sticky issues of enforcement. (It’s also the subject of renewed crosstalk at Daniel Weintraub’s Sacramento Bee health care blog.)

The enforcement issues go from deeply troubling to downright scary when the Governor’s plan never acknowledges that there’s some people who won’t be able to afford coverage. As much as the Governor and his health team have said they are willing to consider ideas and that everything is up for negotiation, there has been no evolution of his health plan yet, despite the feedback received and the lessons learned. And that makes the enforcement discussion that much more disturbing.

For example, we are learning a lot from Massachusetts, at the one-year mark of passage of its reform law, and we should be mindful of lessons of what to do and what not to do. They will vote tomorrow on a range of decisions about “affordability,” which should inform our own work here in California.

While taking no position on the stances they have taken, our advocacy colleagues at Health Care for All Massachusetts have some early information at their blog.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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