A law requiring Massachusetts residents to have health insurance kicked in yesterday, but two-thirds of the 372,000 residents who need coverage haven't signed up, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Massachusetts is a pioneer in universal health care, and most people eligible for subsidized care have insurance, but some 6% of the state's population currently goes without.
The state mandated heath care last year, expanded Medicaid and established a plan for low-income residents. Large groups of people are simply ignoring the law, apparently willing to risk a $219 penalty, but the state professes not to be worried. Says a spokesman for the board overseeing the initiative: "It's a marathon, not a sprint."