Two first rate pieces in today’s Globe: one assessing MA health reform’s progress and pitfalls, and the other previewing the expansion of Commonwealth Care plans — beginning next week — to uninsured with incomes between 100 and 300% of the federal poverty line (up to $29,400).
First, Jeff Krasner’s article describes the overall structure of the new plans as well as the distinguishing features among them. Excellent overview. Just one quibble:
Starting Tuesday, individuals who earn between $9,804 and $29,412 annually can purchase subsidized health insurance called Commonwealth Care. Those who don’t do so by July 1 will face penalties, including the loss of their personal state income tax deduction.
“…will face penalties” should be changed to “…may face penalties” because the board of the Commonwealth Insurance Connector Authority has yet to determine on whom the statutory penalties will fall. That will be determined in the spring. Also, while the statutory requirement to have coverage kicks in on 7/1/07, the penalties for failure to have coverage will begin to fall on those without coverage on 12/31/07.
Let’s just be clear about this, please.
Also, today’s full length editorial, “What’s With This Health Law,” written by editorial writer Tom Gagen, is just superb. A great overview at what’s been achieved, a great look ahead at potential problems and pitfalls. “Despite potential problems, the new law represents a strong commitment by state government to extend health care coverage to those in Massachusetts who now do without this essential benefit of modern society.” Well said!
And thanks for the tip of the hat to HCFA’s fantastic Helpline:
Massachusetts residents with questions about the new law can call the Connector at 1-877-MA-ENROLL (1-877-623-6765) (TTY: 1-877-623-7773 for people with partial or total hearing loss). Or, for assistance from a knowledgeable group outside the government, call Health Care For All’s Helpline at 800-272-4232.