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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.
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Monday, April 9, 2007
Coalition calls on state to make health insurance more affordable
By Alice Dembner, Globe Staff
The Affordable Care Today coalition, which helped secure passage of the state's health insurance law, called for the state to increase subsidies for those with the lowest incomes and to allow people with moderate incomes to opt out of the health insurance requirement if they would have to spend more than 4 to 8 percent of their income paying for it. Download file
The governorís spokesman Kyle Sullivan, said that Patrick would review the proposal, along with others, as he seeks to strike a "delicate balance."
The board that is charged with implementing the law, the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector, is due to set preliminary rules Thursday on who should be exempted from the law because health insurance would be unaffordable for them.
A proposal from another advocacy group, Community Catalyst, released last week, suggested that individuals earning less than $30,000 a year be exempted from any penalty if they don't get insurance. That group also suggested that people earning between $30,000 and $60,000 be exempted if they had to spend more than 4 to 8.5 percent of their income on health insurance.
However, Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Connector board, presented a report last week that suggested nearly everyone could afford insurance and no broad waivers were needed.
Many observers suggest that finding a workable compromise on this question will make or break public acceptance of the new law.