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Photo credit: Healthcare Protesters by The Hill
Nine states are considering laws that would require their residents to purchase health insurance, the The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
The proposals come less than two months after Republicans, as part of a sweeping tax code overhaul, voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) mandate requiring individuals to have health insurance.
Lawmakers in Maryland are considering a law requiring residents to buy health insurance. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, are also considering similar proposals, according to the Journal report.
The ACA's individual mandate was implemented as a way to keep premiums low by requiring everyone to have insurance. Proponents of the mandate say that, without it, healthy people are less inclined to buy insurance, causing premiums to rise for those who need it the most.
But Republicans have long argued against the idea that people should be forced to purchase health coverage.
The decision to repeal the mandate as part of the GOP tax bill was touted as a victory in Republicans' effort to repeal the ACA. While the provision did not do away with the entire law, it was a blow.
The proposals to impose health coverage mandates in some states marks a shift of authority over health care from the federal government to the states, possibly leading to significant coverage differences between red states and blue states.
"The federal government has just stalled. They don’t accomplish the basics, and that leaves states with a great opportunity to step up and craft policy," Connecticut state Rep. Sean Scanlon (D), who sits on a health-care working group, told the Journal.
BY MAX GREENWOOD