Bush Health Care Plan Saves Less Than Others, Study Finds
Several health care proposals that have been or will be introduced in Congress would provide coverage to more U.S. residents and reduce costs more than proposals by President Bush, according to a Commonwealth Fund study released Monday, Reuters/New York Times reports (Reuters/New York Times, 3/20).
For the study, the Lewin Group analyzed 10 health care proposals presented to the 109th and the 110th Congresses. Researchers also evaluated Bush's proposal to provide tax deductions of $7,500 to individuals and $15,000 to families for purchasing health insurance (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 3/20).
The analysis found that a plan by Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) that would expand Medicare could save families $142.6 billion in 2007 and cover an additional 47.8 million U.S. residents (Reuters/New York Times, 3/20). Stark's bill, which was introduced in the 109th Congress and is expected to be reintroduced later this year, would cost the federal government $154.5 billion in 2007 and reduce overall health care spending by $60.7 billion through reductions in insurance administration and prescription drug costs, according to the study.
A separate proposal from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would dismantle the employer-based coverage system and allow U.S. residents to purchase coverage directly from private insurers would increase federal spending by $24.3 billion in 2007 and reduce overall health care spending by $4.5 billion, in part by reducing administrative costs, the analysis found (CQ HealthBeat, 3/20).
According to the study, the plan would save families $78.8 billion and provide coverage for an additional 45 million U.S. residents (Reuters/New York Times, 3/20).
Bush's proposal would provide coverage for an additional nine million people and reduce health care spending by $11.7 billion annually, the study found (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 3/20). Under the proposal, health care spending by families would decline by $31 billion, according to the analysis.
The study found that families with annual incomes of less than $10,000 would save an average of $23 in 2007, while families with annual incomes of $150,000 or more would save $1,263 on average under the president's plan. Bush's plan would increase administrative costs by $5.5 billion, the study found (Reuters/New York Times, 3/20).
The study also examined proposals that seek to reduce the number of uninsured U.S. residents by expanding Medicare and SCHIP, as well as plans that would strengthen employer-sponsored coverage (CQ HealthBeat, 3/20).