Massachusetts Bill Could Be Model for California
Three newspapers on Thursday published editorials addressing a Massachusetts bill that would require all residents to acquire health insurance. With the bill, legislators hope to cover 90% to 95% of the state's 500,000 to 600,000 uninsured residents over three years.
The legislation calls for uninsured residents by July 1, 2007, to purchase new, low-cost health insurance plans or forfeit their personal state tax exemption -- worth about $150 -- in the first year. Individuals who do not buy plans in the second year would have to pay a fine equal to half of the monthly premium of an affordable plan, which could amount to $1,200 annually.
Lawmakers approved the bill on Tuesday, and Gov. Mitt Romney (R) is expected to sign the bill (California Healthline, 4/5).
Los Angeles Daily News: California lawmakers should be "paying close attention to their counterparts in Boston" because Massachusetts has "taught the rest of the country a thing or two about health care policy," a Daily News editorial states. Lawmakers in Massachusetts also have "set the standard for bipartisan cooperation to find solutions for the people" by borrowing "some of the best ideas of the left and the right," according to the editorial (Los Angeles Daily News, 4/6).
Sacramento Bee: Although the Massachusetts plan "is not perfect," it might "actually work, or at least provide clues on how to create a functional system elsewhere, including California," a Bee editorial states. "Maybe a fact-finding mission by some key [California] leaders to Massachusetts is in order," the editorial states, concluding that Massachusetts' "action and our gridlock are more signs of just how far California has slipped from our rightful role as an innovator" (Sacramento Bee, 4/6).
- San Francisco Chronicle: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and other lawmakers in California "should be instructing their staffs to be studying every aspect of the [Massachusetts] plan to see whether some form of it would work in California," a Chronicle editorial states. The editorial continues, "The Massachusetts plan offers California a guidepost for universal health care other than a government-run 'single-payer' system (which is politically unfeasible) or mandating that employers provide insurance (which is outlawed by federal law)" (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6).