09 May 2008

Reality trips up D.C. mandates

The Washington Post reports that D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) has reconfigured his plan to get universal health care to all D.C. residents. This is good. Catania's plan was a mandate, with a $250 fine for anyone who didn't buy health insurance, with subsidies only up to 200% of the federal poverty level - about $21,000.

George Jones, executive director of Bread for the City, shares his hopes and concerns in this May 4 article, with the piece on Blue Cross/Blue Shield's less-than-straightforward negotiations over the plan here. Jones cites Massachusetts as exhibit #1 as to whether fines work to force people to sign on for overpriced, largely worthless insurance.

Walter Smith, executive director of the public advocacy group D.C. Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, notes that Blue Cross/Blue Shield, as a federally chartered nonprofit, is legally bound to contribute to the community.

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