A health plan ‘down payment’ is one way states are retooling individual mandate


As President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans tirelessly try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a number of states are scrambling to enact laws that safeguard its central provisions.

The GOP tax plan approved by Congress in the last days of 2017 repealed the ACA penalty for people who fail to carry health insurance, a provision called the “individual mandate.” On Jan. 30, in Trump’s first State of the Union address, he claimed victory in killing off this part of the health law, saying Obamacare was effectively dead without it.

But before that federal action kicks in next year, some states are enacting measures to preserve the effects of the mandate by creating their own versions of it.

Maryland is on the cutting edge with legislation moving through both chambers of the Statehouse.

“We’ve been just struggling since Trump became president with how to protect the ACA in our state,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, a nonprofit organization that has been instrumental in pushing the measure.


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