4.30.2007

Learning from the states...

One of the main topics of this blog will be the search for universal healthcare. I believe we will have the critical mass the in the next few years to achieve that goal -- particularly now that people are realizing that our current system is a drain on the economy. Of course a few brave states are out there trying to lead the way. While simply scaling up a state program to a national level is not wise. If we're smart, we'll learn from their mistakes.

Front page of the New York Times is an example. Maine's program has stalled ....

The story of Maine’s health program — which tries to control hospital costs, improve the quality of health care and offer subsidized insurance to low-income people — harbors lessons for the country, as covering the uninsured takes center stage. States, including California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, have unveiled programs of their own, seeking to balance the needs and interests of individuals, employers, insurers and health care providers.

But as Maine tries to reform its reforms, it faces some particular challenges: It has large rural, poor and elderly populations with significant health needs. It has many mom-and-pop businesses and part-time or seasonal workers, and few employers large enough to voluntarily offer employees insurance. And most insurers here no longer find it profitable to sell individual coverage, leaving one carrier, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, with a majority of the market, a landscape that some economists said could make it harder to provide broad choices and competitive prices.

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