New Jersey shoots for universal coverage

This is a guest post by freelancer Susan Jacobs.

New Jersey officials announced yesterday that they would like to have everyone in the state insured with medical coverage by the year 2011. The Associated Press reports that 1.4 million New Jersey residents are currently without medical insurance. 275,000 of the uninsured are children, which is one of the state’s biggest concerns.

This new plan would first focus on children and parents, as well as health care reforms that would benefit small employers and individuals. Next, a state-sponsored program would be implemented to offer aid to those who can’t afford coverage. Those behind this ambitious project are already recognizing problems with the plan, however.

Approximately 76 percent of all insured residents are covered by their employer. Once this new statewide health care plan takes effect, nothing will stop some employers from dropping their employee’s health benefits. States are prohibited from forcing employers to cover their workers, after all.

Senator Joseph Vitale addressed the potential problem of employers dropping their workers’ coverage. His prediction, however, is one of optimism. He feels that most employers will keep covering their workers in order to keep their employees happy.

On this new health care plan, Vitale also states, “This is an idea whose time has come as more New Jersey families are struggling with the high cost of health care and more state residents than ever before worry that they may be one serious illness away from bankruptcy.”

Will New Jersey’s budget support a successful universal health care plan? This remains to be seen, though this isn’t the only state jumping on board with such a plan. Both Maine and Vermont are also working on universal health care plans.

Susan Jacobs is a part-time teacher and a regular contributor for NOEDb, a site for learning about and selecting an online nursing degree program. Susan invites your comments and freelancing job inquiries via email.

March 18, 2008

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