An article in today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) brings us up to date on the moves in several large states towards universal health coverage. California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts and Vermont are seeing the most progress.
Typically, very small employers – under 10 employees – are being exempted from these plans. California and others are using a
“play or pay” model – either provide your own insurnace, or pay into a state plan. Employers with concentrations of minimum wage workers will feel the impact the most, as a $1 an hour cost (assuming full time work) has a larger percentage impact on a minimum wage worker than it does on a white collar worker making $25 an hour (about $50,000 a year).
What is especially sad to me is when I’m in a physician’s office and learn that the staff does not have any health benefits. None. Not even one that they could pay for with a pre-tax payroll deduction – none.
For readers in these states – be aware that some sort of plan is likely to emerge and enacted within a year. For those in other states – before the decade is out. If the federal government can’t get going on a proposal that has been around since 1948, than the states will force the issue.