Coverage for All in DC?

Councilman David Catania (I – At Large) has proposed a bill to the council to require health insurance, and offer inexpensive coverage on a sliding scale to DC residents. Failure to be insured, under Catania’s plan, would result in a $250 fine. I’m not quite sure what the enforcement mechanism would be, given that you can’t just ask the insurance companies who’s covered and who’s not, as that’d violate all kinds of various HIPAA privacy regulations.

The bill would be paid for by a $2/pack sin tax on cigarettes, and would raise around $50 Million for the cost of the program. Premiums, monthly, under this new plan would range from $20 to $100 per month on a sliding scale of subsidy based on annual income. This would be in addition to the District’s safety net program, as well as Medicaid.

Is fining poor people who choose food over health insurance really a good idea? I’m not so sure, Councilman, that a $250 fine is the best idea in this case.

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