Massachusetts Pioneers Universal Healthcare Coverage Legislation
On April 11, 2006 Massachusetts passed landmark legislation requiring health insurance for all residents by 2007. Under the new plan, residents in the state will be required to purchase health insurance, or they will automatically forfeit their state tax exemptions.
The state will step in with subsidies to help those that can’t afford it on their own. The new law also includes provisions for businesses with more than 10 employees to cover a portion of their health insurance costs.
California is considering a similar plan, even though voters in the state have rejected forcing individuals and employers to pay for health insurance in the past. The San Jose Mercury News reported that a state assembly bill requiring health insurance for all California residents was approved on April 25, 2006.
And according to Channel 3000, a Madison-Wisconsin news channel, two Wisconsin legislators have introduced variations of a universal healthcare coverage plan in that state. While it is unlikely that any legislation will pass during the current session, the topic of mandatory health insurance is expected to be addressed by candidates running in the next state election cycle.
Other states are looking at plans to force large employers and/or help small businesses pay for their employees health insurance.