Vermont cut a deal today for a plan promising universal health coverage, although the deal still leaves a few potential details up in the air for the future.
The basic deal is this: a new "Catamount Health" plan should be offered by private insurers within two years, with the state subsidizing coverage for lower-income families.
State Senate leaders will introduce legislation this week to provide 12 weeks of paid time off at full pay to care for newborn and adopted children or sick family members-- paid for by a weekly payroll tax of $1.50 to $2.50 per week.
The proposal is more generous than the only existing paid leave program in the country in California, which provides six weeks of maternity leave at 55% of pay.
Here's one interesting part of the Mass. health law that has largely been undiscussed in the media: the Free Rider Surcharge detailed in the the legislative summary, which is an additional incentive for employers to provide health care for their employees:
The Free Rider surcharge will be imposed on employers who do not provide health insurance and whose employees use free care.
Every Massachusetts resident will be required to have health insurance by July 2007-- with a combination of governments subsidies, employer assessments and individual fines used to achieve that result under legislation which was approved by the state House and Senate today.
The broad-based Affordable Care Today! (ACT!) coalition endorsed the bill, although with reservations.
It's bad enough that tens of millions of Americans have no health insurance; adding insult to injury is the fact that the uninsured, often the poorest folks showing up for treatment, are charged many times more than private insurers for the same medical treatments.
If you want to make abortion less common, making contraception available is one of the first places to start. Yet the Missouri House voted to eliminate funding for contraception provided through public health clinics. "It's going to have the opposite effect of what the intention is, which will be more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions," said Rep.
Bob Herbert rages in yesterday's column (behind the firewall) at the gross criminal negligence that is the Mississippi childrens services and foster care system -- and which is the focus of a lawsuit by the childrens advocate organization,
Hard-pressed to find something to do less popular than sell-out for campaign contributions or outsource port operations to foreign governments, the U.S. Congress is now considering a bill to gut state food safety protections.
The sponsor of the measure, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), says the measure is necessary because the same food safety measures are necessary everywhere. Given that Rep.