Cost is Key Concern for Schwarzenegger's Insurance Mandate

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says people must start thinking about health insurance the way they do auto insurance -- as a responsibility everyone must shoulder to make the system work.

But a look at how mandatory insurance has fared in other places shows it will not be easy to put into practice in California.

The reason is mainly the cost.

Health care is a lot cheaper in the countries that have succeeded at imposing mandates. The average Dutch person paid half what the typical American spent in 2005, while the average Swiss resident paid 70 percent.

High costs in Massachusetts -- which passed a mandatory insurance law last year -- are forcing the state to let more than 10 percent of the uninsured off the hook.

Schwarzenegger's plan has been pegged at $14 billion a year, and
some experts say the real cost will be even higher.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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