How likely is it that about a week or so after the governor of California, the nation’s most populous state, unveiled a sweeping proposal for universal health coverage that the governor of Pennsylvania, the nation’s 6th most populous state, would unveil his own plan for dealing with the epidemic of the uninsured?
Well, it’s long been said that “truth is stranger than fiction,” and certainly one does not have to look too far in 2007 (actually, no farther than Washington, D.C.) to see that this time-tested and time-worn axiom still holds a modicum of insight into reality.
So it is that just last week Gov. Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania took his shot at attempting to solve a problem that is all but crushing a lot of the states, especially those with large populations.
The first state to forge a plan to deal with the health coverage of all its residents was Massachusetts, which lately has had a knack of busting through barriers of one sort or another.
Interestingly, of the 3 states that have now unveiled such programs, 2 had Republican governors (Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney is now running for president, but Arnold Schwarzenegger just began his 2nd term in California), while one has a Democratic chief.
(Actually, Maine and Vermont have programs in place with the same aim but which were revealed with little fanfare.)
While the programs of these states each have the same end–that is, universal health coverage–the means of getting there have been tailored to their individual circumstances.
I forget who made the remark about the states being laboratories for experimentation on the health care/coverage front, but it is certainly working out that way.
Rendell’s plan, called “Prescription for Pennsylvania,” has the following goals: “to increase access to affordable health care coverage for all Pennsylvanians, improve the quality of care, and bring health care costs under control for employers and employees.”