Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Is Massachusetts a Model for Broader Health Coverage?

Massachusetts’ new push to ensure that every resident has health care insurance is gaining national attention as states take the lead in exploring ways to cover the 46 million uninsured Americans.

The plan to require everyone to obtain health insurance by July 2007 and to penalize employers who don’t provide coverage takes advantage of Massachusetts’ unique financial arrangements and its low rate of uninsured. But that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from Rhode Island, California, Louisiana and Maryland from considering parts of the Bay State’s approach to use back home.

Massachusetts’ new law, enacted last month, is the first in the country to require that every person have health insurance, in the same way states routinely require drivers to have auto insurance. But Massachusetts is only one of several states experimenting with ways to combat the rising number of uninsured while Congress has made little headway addressing the issue.

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