Mass. Individual Mandate Would Remain If Fed Mandate Is Repealed

The Massachusetts State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Massachusetts State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Massachusetts officials remain on alert for attempts in Washington to squeeze the northward flow of federal health care funds, but the so-called individual mandate to purchase health insurance, an important ingredient of Obamacare, is not a top concern within the Bay State.

On the negotiating table in tax reform negotiations between U.S. House and Senate Republican leaders is a Senate measure undoing the federal mandate. But even if that proposal survives and becomes federal law, Baker administration officials say the individual mandate in a 2006 state law will remain in place.

According to a state health and human services official the mandate in the 2006 law, known by some as Romneycare, remained in place after the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, so it would not need to be reinstated, a possible topic of debate in states working only within the parameters of Obamacare.

People facing mandate violation penalties currently pay the federal penalty first and if the state penalty is greater they pay the state the remainder.

On the national level, Democrats predict repealing the mandate will prove disastrous by disrupting the insurance market while Republicans, who were unable this year to repeal or repeal and replace Obamacare, are eyeing the mandate repeal as a possible victory for their health care agenda.

"We’re getting rid of the individual mandate," President Trump told a crown in Florida Friday night, according to the Wall Street Journal. "That individual mandate where you pay a lot of money for the privilege of not having to have insurance or health care. So you pay for the privilege of not getting taken care of. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? And we’re going to repeal it."


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