Hey kids! Wanna see what's in store for the American people if the Democrats win the White House next year?
Well here's a gander at what's been going on in the nation's only mandatory health insurance state - Massachusetts:
Just think of all the fun we'll have when the IRS gets to enforce health insurance mandates. Imagine all those new IRS employees we'll have to hire to go after the millions of people who might choose not to be insured. I know how much you love and enjoy the services brought to us by the IRS now. I can't wait until they start taking our refunds (or simply adding to our tax bill) if we don't comply with our masters in Washington.
Five percent of taxpayers failed to obtain health coverage last year, and more than half of those - about 97,000 - were forced to forfeit their personal exemption - worth $219 - after it was determined they could have afforded health care.
Two percent of taxpayers - about 62,000 - were found not to earn enough for health care, avoiding fines. Under the landmark law, taxpayers must show they are insured or face penalties. The numbers were based on a review of 86 percent of expected tax filers for 2007.
The state's first-in-the-nation universal health insurance law required everyone in the state to be insured by July 2007, except for those who secured a waiver proving they couldn't afford insurance.
Gov. Deval Patrick said the fact that 95 percent of filers were insured shows the 2006 law is making progress.
"We continue to put one foot in front of the other," Patrick said Monday.
A total of $9.7 million in fines was deposited into a trust fund to help cover the cost of the law. Monthly penalties for those who can afford health care but refuse will jump and could total as much as $912 for individuals by December.
And just to really top off your day, here are some of the results from the state's survey on compliance with the mandated health insurance program. The good news is that fewer people were paying a lot of out of pocket money for health care. The bad news?
The big lie about national health insurance is that it will decrease costs. I guess we can forget about that in Massachusetts anyway.
Despite the increase in the ranks of the insured, the study found little effect on the use of emergency rooms for non-emergency care. And the fear that employers would begin dropping health coverage as the new law took effect hasn't happened.
Long said the study also included good news for policy makers: 71 percent of working-age adults expressed support for the law.
That will come in handy as lawmakers struggle to find ways to cover the soaring costs of the law.
"The continued challenge of health reform requires the continued support of the population and we find support for health care reform among adults in Massachusetts remains high," Long said.
In 2006, a legislative committee estimated the law would cost about $725 million in the fiscal year starting in July. In his budget, Patrick set aside $869 million, but those overseeing the law have already acknowledged costs will rise even higher.
Lawmakers are hoping to close the gap in part with a new dollar-per-pack cigarette tax.
I am starting a contest: guess what the cost of the Massachusetts program will be in 5 years? The winner gets an apple a day for a year and a lifetime subscription to the Daily Worker - the only publication in 5 years that will still think national health insurance is a good idea.