The Connector vs. The Terminator

To inform our debate about “individual responsibility” in California, let’s be clear that the only state in the nation to even try an individual mandate has last week allowed for broad “affordability” exemptions, for 20% of the uninsured. These folks are likely not offered public subsidies or affordable employer-based coverage, yet were facing the penalty of enforcement.

Under the Massachusetts plan, staying uninsured was the least worst option for these uninsured folks: the other option is to be forced to buy a coverage product that they don’t have the money for, and given the deductibles and cost-sharing, may not be of particular use or value to them. Under the exemption, it’s not great that they stay uninsured, but at least it meets the “first, do no harm” policy test.

I post this schedule not to endorse these standards, but to show that even proponents of the individual mandate need to recognize its problems. The Governor’s proposal does not have any exemptions or considerations in this regard.

From “The Connector” in Massachusetts:

An example of what monthly premiums are deemed affordable, based on income under the recommended schedule, is set forth below. As an example, a single individual earning under $15,315 who is not eligible for Commonwealth Care because he or she is eligible for employer-sponsored insurance would not be penalized for passing up the employer-sponsored insurance offer unless it were free. At the other end of the income scale, a single individual earning between $40,001 and $50,000 would not be penalized for passing up the offer if the monthly premium were more than $300.

Singles ———————- Couples ——————– Families w/Children
$0 – $15,315 ($0) ———– $0 – $20,535 ($0) ———-$0 – $25,755 ($0)
$15,316 – $20,420 ($35) —- $20,536 – $27,380 ($70) — $25,756 – $34,340 ($70)
$20,421 – $25,525 ($70) —- $27,381 – $34,225 ($140) — $34,341 – $42,925 ($140)
$25,526 – $30,630 ($105) — $34,225 – $41,070 ($210) — $42,926 – $51,510 ($210)
$30,631 – $35k ($150) —— $41,071 – $50k ($270) —– $51,511 – $70k ($320)
$35,001 – $40k ($200) —– $50,001 – $60k ($360) —– $70,001 – $90k ($500)
$40,001 – $50k ($300) —– $60,001 – $80k ($500) —– $90,001 – $110k ($720)

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

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