New Hampshire Health and Human Services Commissioner Terry Morton released a plan designed to achieve universal health coverage. The plan, which took three years to develop, is designed to guarantee health coverage and other social services to all residents of the state.
The commissioner's "Guidelines for Change" call for creation of a statewide health insurance purchasing alliance for small businesses. Subsidies would be provided to individuals who are uninsured because they can't afford private insurance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11.8 percent of New Hampshire's population lacked health insurance last year, up from 9.5 percent in 1996 but still well below the 1997 national average of 16.1 percent.
Without indicating how to pay for the plan, Morton says that redirecting money already in the state budget should cover most costs.