Blogger Calls Mass. Connector 'Legal Pit Bull'

Fightin' words from John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, on his blog here, taken largely from a Boston Herald story of Nov. 17. Goodman posts:

Massachusetts’ health insurance connector has turned into a legal pit bull by aggressively going after a growing number of Bay Staters who say they can’t afford mandated insurance:
The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority is cracking down on more than 3,000 residents who are fighting state fines of up to $2,000 a year.
All told, more than 7,700 people have appealed state fines for not having health insurance.
The agency has hired several private attorneys at $50 an hour to hear many of the appeals, and some 3,150 of them have been denied — and the losers told to pay up.
The connector has also hired the Hub law firm Bowman & Penski — at $125 an hour — to defend itself against 13 lawsuits filed by fed-up taxpayers who insist they can’t afford state required insurance premiums or the escalating fines.

(My first reaction: Wow, where did they find lawyers to work for so cheap?!?)
Mr. Goodman's piece prompted several comments, including this one:

...If you drop the mandates, you also have to drop the continuously avaliable guaranteed issue requirement, or everybody in the state will start gaming the system. No one will insure unless he is sick.

This program aired on November 24, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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