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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007
About 20 percent of uninsured would be exempted from state law
By Alice Dembner, Globe Staff
About 20 percent of uninsured adults would be exempted from meeting the state's new requirement that everyone have health insurance, under a proposal that will be voted on tomorrow by a state board.
The proposal, from the staff of the board overseeing implementation of the new universal health insurance law, estimates that even the lowest-cost insurance would not be affordable for about 68,000 individuals with low and moderate incomes.
This would extend free coverage to individuals earning up to about $15,000 a year and families of 4 earning up to $31,000. It would also reduce the cost of insurance by $5 a month for those earning between $15,000 and $20,000 who are eligible for Commonwealth Care.
"If we do not find a way to oblige most individuals to participate, healthcare reform will fail to achieve its promise," he wrote. "However, we are walking a tightrope."
The proposal adopts some of the recommendations of a coalition of advocacy, labor and medical groups that had argued that applying the insurance mandate to people who couldn't afford it would undermine public support for the initiative.