Federal law mandating athletic insurance

Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to get health coverage or face a fine come tax time.

But it will not be a simple task to get so many people to purchase coverage, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that, for a variety of reasons, fewer than half of the 30 million will actually gain coverage in that first year.

Less than 5 percent of the state’s population is now uninsured. But having our law telling you to do those things sometimes has an adverse effect.” Although auto insurance is required for all drivers under state law, an estimated 20 to 30 percent in Oklahoma go without it, Mai said.

But that was Massachusetts, a liberal-leaning state where residents are accustomed to more government regulation. “There’s a sense in Oklahoma, and I’m not sure if this is peculiar to this state, but we don’t like people telling us what to do,” said Chuck Mai, a spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. We should buckle our safety belt every time we drive. (In Massachusetts, about 5 percent of drivers are uninsured, the lowest rate in the country, according to the Insurance Research Institute, which last calculated the numbers in 2009.) Lawyers and industry groups believe the low car insurance rates in Oklahoma are partly because of the sizable population of illegal immigrants.

Conservative lawmakers in the legislature are already devising ways to skirt its provisions.

Even some providers who treat the poor are skeptical.

That includes people who will become newly eligible for Medicaid coverage and others who can buy insurance through new state exchanges.The state cannot even get residents to comply with car insurance laws; roughly a quarter of the drivers here lack it, one of the highest rates in the country.When it comes to health insurance, the effort to sign people up isn’t likely to get much help from the state.John, 37, who would not give his last name, said he could not afford health insurance for himself, his wife and his five children on his ,000 salary as an apartment manager.He said he resents the idea that the government could compel him to do something he may not be able to afford.

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Advocates believe that, when the word gets out, people will sign up because it will prove to be a good deal. but once people see the impact it can have on their lives, all of that is going to change tremendously,” said Ron Pollack, a health-care advocate.

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