Massachusetts Passes Universal Health Care Legislation
Unlike SB840 here in California, the Massachusetts plan is not a single-payer (i.e. government paid) plan, though it does require that people and businesses pay into a government fund. It creates massive subsidies to cover those who are unable to afford health-insurance (on the order of $125 just to cover the poorest of the poor), while mandating those who are able to afford it buy it. It also requires that businesses with 11 or more employees help pay for care.
While this plan is nowhere nears dangerous as the single payer plan of SB840, it is still another solution that aims to treat the symptoms, not the disease, and I predict it will also have profound economic impacts to the state.
Most restaraunts survive on margin. It's been called the easiest way to lose money. Profits from individual sales are small, and thus, restaraunts must rely on volume. When this bill becomes law, virtually every restaraunt (I can't imagine there are many with fewer than 11 employees) will now have the added cost of supplying health care. This is not a trivial expense, and I imagine it will place a heavy burden on many restaurants. If you were employed by a struggling small-business before, you won't have a job.
I also disapprove of the mandate that those who are able to afford insurance must pay for it. This limitation of choice, I feel, is unamerican. While it may be difficult for people to recognize that some people choose not to buy insurance, it is a very real and common choice. Supporters claim that it is the equivalent to buying auto insurance, however, this is an inappropriate comparison. Most states have an auto-insurance minimum, that is basically liability. Your purchase of this minimum is not to protect you, but to protect the interests of others in the event that you are irresponsible. Purchasing additional insurance - the kind that protects your investment - is optional. Thus, insurance to protect your own investment remains your choice.
While I don't think that this plan is truly in the best interest of everyone, or really addresses the underlying issues, I will say that if California is dead-set on providing socialized medicine, I hope that they drop SB840 in favor of a lower-cost, less-destructive plan such as this.