Can California's Proposed Coverage Reform Be a Model for the District of Columbia?

Brief

Can California's Proposed Coverage Reform Be a Model for the District of Columbia?

Abstract

The ongoing debate in California over two competing 2007 proposals for universal health coverage highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of the current insurance system in the District of Columbia as a platform for coverage expansion. The District's advantages include its relatively small uninsured population and existing mechanisms for administering a public coverage program tied to income. But its fiscal base is relatively small compared with California's, its largely unregulated insurance market could lead to severe adverse selection problems for new programs, and it is at much greater risk for border-crossing by both individuals and businesses in response to reform.

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