posted by Penny Lemov
When Massachusetts passed its breakthrough universal health insurance plan a few weeks ago, the scuttlebutt was, "Well, yes, but only in Massachusetts." The mandate requiring everyone to carry health insurance--and offering subsidies to those who couldn't afford it, plus cooperation from the private sector--was seen as not replicable.
Well, probably not exactly and in all the same details. But just a few weeks after Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed the insurance bill into law, three states have already moved in the same direction.
Vermont passed a health care bill that establishes a new state-funded insurance program for the uninsured and requires employers to pay assessments if they do not offer health care coverage to their workers. Moreover, if private insurers fail to voluntarily offer the new insurance program, state regulators could require them to do so.
New Jersey's Senate Labor Committee approved a bill to require large employers to spend a certain amount on employee health benefits.
Michigan's Governor Jennifer Granholm introduced a plan to offer health insurance to all of the state's 1.1 million uninsured residents. Higher-income residents (incomes above 200% of poverty) would have to pay their own premiums at a reduced group rate, while lower-income residents would pay for low-cost coverage on a sliding scale. Small businesses would pay less for insuring their workers because costs would be pooled with other companies.