Gov. Chet Culver wants to expand health coverage for young people and control the cost of long-term care in Iowa.
Culver said Iowa's efforts can help lay the groundwork for a looming debate in Washington over universal coverage.
"I believe access to health care is a right to all Iowans," Culver said during a news conference on Monday. "I believe there are some things we can do at the state level right away,"
Culver argued that Iowa is better positioned than others to provide universal coverage, largely because coverage is already very broad in across the state. Roughly 94 percent of the state's children have health coverage, as well as about 90 percent of adults, he said.
"We don't have far to go, but our work is not done," said Culver.
In his new package, Culver asks lawmakers to:
-Add an additional 7,500 children to a state program that offers health coverage to children of the working poor.
-Allow youngsters to remain on their parents' group health insurance policies until age 25.
-Eliminate certain waiting periods and pre-existing condition restrictions, set a 12 percent per year cap on increases in long-term care insurance, and pushing toward electronic medical records.