Go West young man! (But don’t count on subsidized health insurance)

Go West young man! (But don’t count on subsidized health insurance)

California Health Care Foundation analyzed the potential to apply a Massachusetts-style universal coverage model to California. The bottom line: it would be doable, but significantly more expensive. Why?

  • Overall, the uninsured rate among the non-elderly is 21% in CA v. 13% in MA and 18% in the US overall
  • In CA, 56% of employers provide coverage v. 69% in MA and 63% in the US overall
  • Both states have high average incomes, but CA has a higher percentage of low income residents (43% in CA v. 29% in MA v. 39% in the US overall make less than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level)
  • Among those making less than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level, 32% of CA residents are uninsured v. 22% in MA and 29% in the US overall

The reason MA can move toward universal coverage is that the state has already done a reasonably good job of seeing that health insurance is widely available. Part of that is demographics, part is policy, part is cultural. Other states may find they need to walk first; they may fall flat on their faces if they try running to keep up with Massachusetts.

Read the executive summary here.

April 28, 2006

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