To what extent does "publicly elected government" (as is popularly perceived) affect peoples' lives, as compared with powerful privately run institutions? Unelected bodies, for example the banking system, the mortgage and credit card companies, credit rating organizations, corporate employers, health management organizations etc. etc., have a huge influence in directing and shaping people's everyday existence, and the less a person earns , the greater extent that these institutions have in inflicting their will, which runs the gamut from "minor inconvenience", all the way to what is becoming known as "financial terrorism".
The main contact most people have directly with "government" comes around in April each year, when taxtime comes around. Apart from that (as well as any need to contact the emergency services), contact with "government" remains largely indirect. And then, one has to examine "government", to determine on whose behalf this "tool of force" (as you call "government") is largely acting. The overwhelming evidence is that "government", when not serving itself, is almost always acting in the service of big business. The great unwashed public (peasantry?) is being cut out of the equation. If you look behind the new Massaschusetts auto-insurance laws, as you mention, the most pragmatic guess would point to lobbying on behalf of the insurance industry, to influence the state government into passing those very regulations.
Private enterprise/corporate America is affecting and controlling people's lives not only directly, via its own rules and regulations, but also in its ever increasing ability to control/run government. This is Mussolini's fascism in action to a tee, although many people would instantly cover their ears on hearing the other "F-word" used to describe what they still might see as a bona fide "democratic republic" (50% of the people are still under the impression that their votes actually do count for something)! We now have a uniform coalescence of state and corporate power, where there is little to distinguish between the two. Bland feel-good references to the "people's representatives", when referring to "elected government", are becoming yet more unrealistic and redundant in time; an individual and collective denial of the failure of democracy.