GOP Governor Solves Healthcare Problem
Massachusetts residents who choose not to obtain health insurance would face tax penalties and even the garnishing of their wages under a proposal Governor Mitt Romney unveiled yesterday.Mitt Romney is so convinced he'll make healthcare affordable in Massachusetts that no one need be uninsured - and, if they are, they need to be punished.
...Romney's plan would require all residents in Massachusetts to have some form of health insurance or agree to pay their medical bills out of their own pockets. No other state has such a requirement, and if Romney manages to make it law, it would be a compelling accomplishment he could point to if he runs for president.
Currently, people without health insurance often go to hospitals and receive care they never pay for, because the hospital and the state pick up the tab. Under Romney's proposal, uninsured Massachusetts residents would be asked to enroll in a plan when they seek care.
If they refuse, the state could recoup the medical costs in several ways, Romney said yesterday: The state might cancel the personal tax exemption on their state income taxes, which is worth about $175. It could withhold some or all of their state income tax refund and deposit it in what Romney called a ''personal healthcare spending account." Or, it might take money out of the person's paycheck, as it does now to collect child support.
''No more 'free riding,' if you will, where an individual says: 'I'm not going to pay, even though I can afford it. I'm not going to get insurance, even though I can afford it. I'm instead going to just show up and make the taxpayers pay for me,' " Romney told reporters after a healthcare speech at the John F. Kennedy Library.
...''I am delighted that Governor Mitt Romney is serious about providing affordable healthcare to all citizens of this state," said Philip W. Johnston, chairman of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
US Senator Edward M. Kennedy described Romney's call for an individual mandate as ''a healthy step forward," but added that ''details of the benefits offered and the level of cost-sharing individuals will face are crucial to understanding this proposal."
Senate president Robert E. Travaglini, the other leading figure in Beacon Hill's healthcare debate, said of the individual mandate, ''I wouldn't rule it out." Travaglini's own plan sets aside $100,000 to study the idea of an individual mandate.
''Nothing is going to be dismissed outright; this is too important of an issue," Travaglini said.
...Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that supports research on health and social issues, said: ''The sticking point has always been the affordability of coverage. It's one thing to tell people they have to buy it. If they can't afford it, what do you do? Fine them? Put them in jail?"
The usual suspects -- the GOP and its CATO & Heritage henchmen, plus the corrupt, corporate-enthralled Democratic Party -- have made debt relief inaccessible to the very people who are already being destroyed - or soon will be - by unaffordable healthcare. Isn't it encouraging Democrats find this a step forward?
Can there be any doubt a resurgence of The Poor House is at hand?