FINE PRINT

Mandatory Health Insurance?

This is sure to cause a fuss: House Democrats are reportedly mulling over the possibility of fining anyone who refuses to buy health care under the emerging universal government plan. The unspecified monetary penalty is part of a developing proposal that may also include taxing certain insurance benefits as a way to finance the expansion of coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. The plan includes government and private company insurance, though critics say private companies won’t be able to compete with the government plans. Obama attacked the idea of taxing benefits during the campaign, when then-opponent John McCain supported the idea. In the proposal, no one could be rejected for pre-existing medical conditions, and all plans would contain a minimum benefit. The estimated price tag for a decade? Somewhere around $1 trillion.