States Work To Expand Health Insurance Coverage
More than 12 states in the last two legislative sessions have "moved to overhaul coverage for those without health insurance" in the "absence of federal policy or Washington leadership ready to take on the issue," the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the Times, uninsured residents "flood state-subsidized clinics" and emergency departments, and states "bear the treatment costs for chronic illness among the uninsured."
A number of states have moved to address the issue with "an attempt at universal health insurance, a public-private insurance partnership or a revised implementation of Medicaid," the Times reports. For example, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont have enacted near-universal health insurance laws, and several more states have enacted laws to help reduce the number of uninsured residents.
Other states -- such as Florida, Idaho, Kentucky and West Virginia -- have revised their Medicaid programs to address the issue.
Laura Tobler, a health care analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said, "States are moving ahead with reform because there is no momentum at the national level" (Mehren, Los Angeles Times, 6/25).