Can States Cover the Costs of Near Universal Health Care Plans?

DoctorRecently, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and California Governor Gavin Newsom announced proposals to increase the number of people with health insurance coverage in their respective jurisdictions.

As reported by Governing, their local proposals include restoring the individual mandate, expanding the number of people receiving subsidies to cover the costs, and covering some portion of undocumented immigrants — changes that would amount to hundreds of thousands more people being insured.

As noted in the Baltimore Business Journal and the Washington Post, lawmakers in Maryland will also explore proposals to strengthen the individual mandate in absence of federal enforcement.

The question posed by the Governing article is can these jurisdictions cover the costs of these near universal health care plans? And at what cost? The short answer is “resource rich” states likely can.

From Governing:

Cost is the No. 1 concern for those opposed to universal health care. They worry that covering everyone will come at the expense of other services as well as mounting debt for the government.

But health policy experts say resource-rich governments like California and New York have strong enough revenues to cover the cost of expanding health care to segments of the population who fall through the cracks. California is projected to have a budget surplus of $15 billion this year, according to the state’s Legislative Analyst Office. New York City ended fiscal 2018 with a $2.6 billion budget surplus, according to the city’s comptroller.

For more information:

Can California and NYC Afford Their Near-Universal Health-Care Plans? (Governing)

Maryland proposal would replace federal ‘mandate’ for purchasing health insurance (The Baltimore Business Journal)

Minimum wage, health care, top issues in 2019 legislature (The Washington Post)

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