Man without health care sues state of MA over $2G fine

Christine McConville
The Boston Herald
8/10/2010

Michael Merlina was fed up, frustrated and seemingly out of options when he walked into Middlesex Superior Court last week and plunked down $275 for court fees.

With help from a few clerks, Merlina became his own lawyer and filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector Authority.

The 29-year-old North Reading glazier is fighting the $2,000 state fine for not having health insurance. In 2009, the first year penalties were in place, Merlina paid a $400 fine for him and his wife.

This time, he balked.

“It makes no sense to me,” Merlina told The Pulse. “I’m a hard-working, tax-paying guy who can’t afford $800 a month for health insurance, or the $2,000 penalty for not having it, and nobody seems to get this.”

Here in Massachusetts, which requires all residents to have health insurance, some working stiffs like Merlina fall through the cracks.

He’s not one of the 184,000 Massachusetts residents poor enough to qualify for the state’s mostly free health care. Nor is he lucky enough to work for a company that provides insurance.

This article continues at The Boston Herald.

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