Last month, Massachusetts passed legislation intended to ensure that all its residents have health care coverage. A controversial “pay or play” provision requires any employer with more than 10 employees to either provide health care coverage or pay an annual “fair share” fee to the state.

In January the Maryland Legislature enacted the so-called Wal-Mart bill. It requires all private employers with more than 10,000 Maryland employees to spend 8 percent of payroll on health insurance or pay the difference to a fund maintained by the state. Various fair-share bills are pending in more than 20 other states.

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