The major elements of Massachusetts health care reform legislation passed in April can be tailored for adoption by other states, depending on a state's characteristics, according to a research paper in the current issue of Health Affairs.
The paper was written by Edmund Haislmaier and Nina Owcharenko of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. The authors outlined two main components of the Massachusetts plan and offered guidelines for states interested in adopting similar legislation.
The two main concepts of the legislation that could serve as a model for other states are:
- Shifting most of the private insurance system to a "single market" structure and establishing a "clearinghouse" for buying, selling and administering private health insurance coverage; and
- Converting public spending from a provider-subsidy system into a consumer-subsidy system for obtaining private coverage.
States can alter the main components of the legislation, depending on demographics, the current health system structure and political environment, researchers found. For example, states could change coverage requirements, the number of plans offered in the clearinghouse and size guidelines for which employers can participate, according to the authors (Haislmaier/Owcharenko, Health Affairs, November/December 2006). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.