Massachusetts Insurance Mandate Prompts Nationwide Interest
Massachusetts' universal health care plan might become a political and structural model for a federal health care initiative as the national health care debate "has reached a turning point, with both liberals and conservatives ready to compromise," the Boston Globe reports.
Health care is likely to be an issue in the 2008 presidential election as Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), an "architect" of the state's plan, is considering a presidential run, according to the Globe. Other states' interest in the plan "is also pushing the health care issue to the forefront," the Globe reports.
John McDonough, executive director of Health Care for All, said two dozen states are considering universal health care plans based on Massachusetts' plan.
Irwin Redlener, president of the Children's Health Fund and Children's Hospital at Montefiore, said the steadily rising number of uninsured is prompting people from across the political spectrum to work together.
According to the Globe, "Liberals are setting aside old demands for a single-payer system, while conservatives are showing a willingness to consider more government involvement in the provision of health care."
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have said they would push congressional hearings on using the Massachusetts program as a national model.
Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Timothy Murphy said he has been overwhelmed with states' requests to discuss the plan. "Massachusetts is going to do one flavor of health care reform, and other states are going to look and do something that fits their needs," Murphy said, adding, "[W]e clearly have reignited the health care debate across almost every state capital" (Milligan, Boston Globe, 12/18).