Connecticut lawmakers are considering two bills that would impose fines on people for choosing not to buy health insurance.

The Connecticut state House Insurance and Real Estate Committee sponsored House Bill 5379 (H.B. 5379), which would require residents who do not purchase health insurance to pay a fine of $10,000 or 9.66 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher.

Connecticut state Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) sponsored House Bill 5039 (H.B. 5039), which would levy a fine of $500 or 2 percent of annual income on individuals who decide not to buy health insurance.

H.B. 5039 was approved by the Connecticut General Assembly’s Joint Insurance and Real Estate Committee in March and made available for consideration in the full House of Representatives on April 9. The committee also held a March 2 public hearing on H.B. 5379 but did not vote on the bill.

The Connecticut House has not yet scheduled a vote on either bill.

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Although letting U.S. patients buy drugs from other countries sounds free-market, doing so would actually import price controls dictated by foreign governments.

President Donald Trump pledged on the campaign trail to allow drugs from foreign countries to be sold in the United States. Although this may sound laissez-faire, the fact is other countries undermine free and fair trade by imposing price controls that would be imported to the U.S. This would further undermine the profit, and thus increase the cost, of developing safe drugs in the U.S., for which manufacturers currently pay $2.6 billion on average per new drug, argues Grace-Marie Turner, president and founder of the Galen Institute, in this Health Care News Podcast Episode, hosted by HCN Managing Michael Hamilton.

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The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as early as March of 2017, preceding by more than a year one of the  deadlines President Donald Trump has stated for repealing and replacing Obamacare.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said the House should pass legislation repealing Obamacare before April, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee is one of several aiming to mark up the legislation by March 1, The Hill reported on February 8.

The Trump administration may not be willing to repeal, replace, or repair ACA until the summer of 2018, Trump told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor on February 5.

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ACA proponents perpetually try to make announcements of rising premiums more palatable, but their latest excuse merely highlights the central planners’ failure to deliver on President Barack Obama’s promises. A popular diversionary tactic is to point out federal subsidies under the ACA will significantly offset the rate hikes. Relief from subsidies does not negate the fact that health care costs are increasing–even for individuals receiving subsidies. This is a low bar for a law intended to reform the country’s health care marketplace and protect the uninsured and individually insured.

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Republican Obamacare replacement plans released so far would change the federal tax code to mitigate the cost of health insurance for individuals and families.

The Sessions-Cassidy legislation would provide a universal health insurance tax credit (UHITC) of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for married couples filing jointly, plus $1,500 per qualifying dependent.

A plan Price released in May 2015 would award tax credits for health insurance based on the ages of taxpayers and their dependents, ranging from $900 per year for individuals under age 18 to $3,000 for individuals aged 50 and older, according to the text of the Empowering Patients First Act of 2015.

Instead of a credit, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) has recommended a standard federal income tax deduction for health insurance of $7,500 per individual and $20,500 per family, as proposed in the American Health Care Reform Act of 2015 (AHCRA), sponsored by Rep. David Roe (R-TN) and 98 cosponsors.

All three plans also promote the use of health savings accounts and include provisions for giving states block grants to fund and reform their Medicaid programs according to their particular needs.

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