NU Online News Service, Dec. 4, 9:13 a.m. – Bruce Bodaken, the chairman of Blue Shield of California, San Francisco, a large nonprofit managed care company, says California ought to set up a universal health coverage program.

The program would require all employers, except for the smallest, to provide health coverage for every employee or contribute an equivalent amount of money for the purchase of health coverage.

The campaign would also require the state to do a better job of getting every resident eligible for health coverage programs for the poor to enroll in those programs, and it would require all California residents who could afford to buy health coverage themselves to buy it.

The state should come up with any cash it needs to pay for the program by establishing a broad-based tax, Bodaken says.

“Advocating new employer and individual responsibilities may concern our customers or other constituents,” Bodaken says in a statement about his proposal. “Nonetheless, with costs rising at unsustainable rates, thousands losing their insurance, a trauma system on the verge of collapse and a state government too broke to fund programs for the poor, we must take bold action now.”