Universal Healthcare at State Level?

healthcare legislationLegislation being drafted by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) would allow state-based universal healthcare coverage.  The State-Based Universal Health Care Act of 2012, which may be introduced to Congress as soon as next week, would create the possibility for states to request Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal healthcare funds for their own health insurance programs.

While such a bill will face a Congressional battle, it would represent an opportunity to offer health insurance to the seven million Americans currently without it, at the state rather than federal level.  Each state would be required to enroll at least 95 percent of its eligible residents, and enrolled residents would contribute to the system a percentage of income, instead of paying annual insurance premiums, deductibles, or co-payments.  Several studies have determined that such universal systems would cost most consumers less than existing private plans, and a recent paper by economist Gerald Friedman estimated than a national system would save approximately $570 billion a year as compared with the current situation.

McDermott’s proposal brings to the state level the overall goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which, along with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is driving the shift to Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems.  Microwize Technology, a leading healthcare IT consultant, offers EHR systems such as Allscripts MyWay, Medisoft Clinical, and Lytec MD and can help with implementation and training.