The plan is interesting in that it seems to basically contradict the AHIP plan that Halvorson was touting last week. That one called for subsidies for low income workers to buy into private health plans. This one calls for a state sponsored first dollar coverage plan in addition, plus an individual mandate plus a pay or play tax, plus two different pools for the non-poor to buy high deductible plans from (again both state sponsored). At least I think it’s what they’re saying. The major problem with this plan is that it’s so damn complicated I couldn’t figure out which special interest group was going to get the angriest, as it gets ignored by the rest of the public. It is worth noting that pay or play was turned down at the ballot box (2004) recently in this state and the version that was turned down had an exemption for small businesses. No such exception would exist under this plan. So maybe some anger (read: opposing political contributions) there…(are you watching WalMart?)
It’s also worth noting that they, like the Mass guys and everyone else look at the Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment levels, say “why don’t all those poor people just enroll in the plans that they’re already entitled to enroll in?” They seem to see that as a source of free (Federal) money. Well if they all did, then that money would actually have to come from somewhere…which is why those programs are under-enrolled to start with.
Still this is a serious effort. They’ve even done sums and everything. And we’re starting to count these policy documents by weight now, which indicates that it’s all getting somewhat serious and is picking up as a political issue.