The New Health Reform Wave III: Michigan & New Jersey
The beat goes on. From today's Kaiser Daily Briefing:
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) on Thursday introduced a plan to offer health insurance to all of the state's 1.1 million uninsured residents. The plan is an extension of a proposal Granholm made in January to provide insurance to the 550,000 uninsured Michigan residents who have incomes lower than 200% of the poverty level but do not qualify for Medicaid. The new plan also would offer coverage to uninsured residents with higher incomes. Higher-income beneficiaries would have to pay their own premiums at a reduced group rate, while lower-income beneficiaries would pay for low-cost coverage on a sliding payment scale based on income. Small businesses would pay less for insuring their workers because costs would be pooled with other companies. Granholm's two-tiered plan would require an additional $600 million in federal Medicaid funding and would require approval from CMS to use $400 million in state funds for the program. Granholm said she has been "very encouraged" by negotiations with CMS.
The New Jersey Senate Labor Committee on Thursday voted 3-1 to approve a bill, modeled after a Maryland law, that would require large employers to spend a certain amount on employee health benefits. Under the bill, employers with more than 1,000 workers would have to contribute a certain amount to health coverage for employees working more than 13 hours a week. Under the bill, employers would have to pay $1.65 for each hour worked in the first year, $2.50 per hour in the second year and $3.30 per hour in the third year. For employees working 37.5 hours a week, that would total $3,217 in the first year and $6,435 in the third year. Employers would have to compare the amount they spend on health care with the amount required under the bill and those who did not meet the bill's standards could either increase their spending or pay the difference into a state fund.
In case you missed it, health care reform in the states is back and it's hot.