The Boston Globe: "President Obama has promised that the nation's health care overhaul will make medical insurance available - and affordable - for everyone. But while bills in Congress would make insurance more accessible for millions of Americans, advocates worry that the Senate bill would impose significant financial burdens on some of the families who will now be required to buy coverage."
Although "Democratic leaders have already added billions of dollars in subsidies to the proposal being debated on the Senate floor" in order to make coverage more affordable, "advocates remain concerned that even with that government help, premiums under the Senate measure would consume large portions of monthly budgets for families with low incomes" (Wangsness, 12/6).
Related previous KHN story: Chasm In Congress Over How Much Individuals Should Pay For Health Care (Rau, 9/17).
The Los Angeles Times has a Q&A on health care reform, including a question about the individual mandate. "Both the House and Senate bills would require Americans to have health insurance. If you don't have insurance through your job or through Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or some other government plan, you would have to buy a plan or pay a tax penalty. Supporters of this requirement say that forcing people to have insurance -- especially young, healthy people -- will lower costs for all involved because it will allow insurance companies to spread risk across a larger group" (Oliphant and Geiger, 12/6).