Several states toying with idea of universal health insurance for all residents
Health insurance is a hot topic in the United States today and with good reason: An estimated 46 million Americans do not have individual or family health insurance. As a result, some political candidates and others are calling for universal health insurance for all Americans.
But, while national health insurance is still a topic of debate for many, there are some states that are already in the process of or are considering creating programs that will provide health insurance for all state residents.
Pennsylvania is among those states that are considering implementing universal health insurance, at affordable rates, for its citizens. Governor Ed Rendell’s proposal would allow individuals, who do not have health insurance, to purchase health insurance from private health insurance companies for approximately $280 a month. Those residents with low incomes will receive subsidized health insurance.
Those businesses who employ 50 or fewer workers are also eligible to enroll their employees in the health insurance plan. Participating employers would be responsible for paying $130 each month while employees would pay the remaining $150 each month. Again, those employees with low incomes would have their health insurance covered by state subsidies.
To pay for the cost of affordable health insurance for all Pennsylvania residents, Governor Rendell has proposed a cigarette tax increase, matching funds from the federal level, and a payroll assessment of three percent on most of the businesses in the state.
Alternately, in California, Arnold Schwarzenegger is working with legislators in the state to pass a health insurance initiative that would insure the 6.8 million Californians currently without health insurance.A Colorado state commission, formed last year to create a plan that would help the state's residents without health insurance have access to affordable health insurance, is set to reveal its findings in early 2008.