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Monday, November 20th 2006

Is It Coming?

Who needs Hilary or Nancy to start harping on health care at the national level? Well, actually probably a lot of people still…but perhaps not the people of Maryland (H/T The Health Care Blog) and California.

Too Late, The States Are Beating You To It!

For Maryland

Marylanders would be required to buy health insurance under a draft plan outlined yesterday by the staff of the Maryland Health Care Commission.

The plan would be a radical change from the current system of employers choosing which health plans to offer to workers. It would set up an insurance exchange where individuals could choose from any plans offered by insurers and keep the same coverage when moving from job to job.

This is another mixed mandate plan – thank you Governor Romney – wherein both individuals and small employers have mandates placed on them by the state.

Employers would pay much of the cost, with each employer setting a dollar figure it would contribute toward the purchase. And the state would provide a subsidy for lower-income workers.

In California, Arnold is getting ready to announce some huge plan. You may remember he already vetoed a single payer system (how wacky and radical was it that that made it out of the Assembly?)

Schwarzenegger is known to admire the success this year of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, in crafting a deal with the state’s Democratic-controlled Legislature.

The law requires all residents to obtain health insurance by next July as long as the state determines that affordable insurance is available. The plan includes state subsidies for the poor and small businesses. Firms that don’t provide coverage for their employees will be assessed a fee.

The California Health Foundation has estimated that adopting a Massachusetts-style plan could cost as much as $9.4 billion more than California now spends on healthcare.

The governor has publicly endorsed the notion that people should be required to have health insurance, just as drivers must carry car insurance. But negotiators for the Democratic-led Assembly have privately told the administration that proposal is unacceptable.

Now for Texas….Well, we may be waiting a while in this state.