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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
Short White Coat blogger Ishani Ganguli
Monday, March 26, 2007
No blanket waivers of health insurance fines, DiMasi says
By Alice Dembner and Lisa Wangsness, Globe Staff
House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi made his position clear today on the issue of blanket waivers of penalties for people who can't afford health insurance: No dice.
DiMasi, one of the architects of the state's universal health insurance law, was addressing the next big issue that will be coming before the board overseeing implementation of the law.
"I think we should have a determination on a case by case basis," he told reporters today.
As written, the law requires every adult in Massachusetts to have insurance by July 1 -- or pay a penalty in 2008 -- unless insurance is unaffordable. The law gives the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector the authority to define what affordable means, and the board is scheduled to debate that next month.
Some advocates have asked the board to waive penalties for everyone who makes less than $49,000 a year.
Asked about that idea today, DiMasi said, "For a class of people, I don't think it should be necessary."