Universal insurance in the works in NJ

It's hard to keep count these days of how many states are planning universal health initiatives. One of the latest is New Jersey, which, in its case, would eventually require all residents to carry health insurance. State officials predict that the plan's first year costs could hit $1.7 billion, a number that might not get past the legislature, but should, given the costs of caring for the uninsured inefficiently, proponents say. After all, they note, the state already pays almost $600 million a year to hospitals who care for uninsured patients. Under existing reform proposals, at first those who can't afford  insurance could potentially begin by coming into the state's Medicaid program or low-income FamilyCare, which already insure about 700,000 low-income children and families. Later,the state would also help to insure about 600,000 residents who can't afford private health plan coverage but make too much to qualify for Family Care or Medicaid.

To find out more about New Jersey's plans:
- read this piece from The Philadelphia Inquirer