Mass. Governor Touts Health Insurance Mandate
A "good portion" of a Massachusetts health insurance mandate could apply to California and other states, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said on Thursday at America's Health Insurance Plans' annual conference, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/9).
The law requires all residents to purchase health insurance by July 1, 2007, and would create a low-cost, state-subsidized health insurance program for residents with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level (California Healthline, 4/13).
Legislation similar to the Massachusetts law has been introduced in California but has not been enacted. However, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) recently expressed support for using Massachusetts' law as a blueprint for insurance reform in California.
A similar plan could cost up to $9.4 billion more per year in California because the state has a higher number of uninsured, low-income residents, immigrants and small businesses that are less likely to offer health insurance to workers, according to Marian Mulkey, senior health insurance program officer at the California HealthCare Foundation.
A CHCF study found low-income residents account for 20.7% of the population in California, compared with 13.1% in Massachusetts (San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/9).