Calif. Representative Pushes Universal Health Coverage
House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chair Pete Stark (D-Calif.) on Thursday introduced a bill that would seek to provide health insurance to all U.S. residents through Medicare and employer-sponsored coverage, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The AmeriCare Health Care Act would establish AmeriCare, a new program that would use Medicare to provide health insurance to residents who do not receive employer-sponsored coverage. AmeriCare would cover prescription drugs, mental health treatments, pediatric care and family planning services.
Employers, individuals and states would help finance AmeriCare, which would provide health insurance to residents with annual incomes less than 300% of the federal poverty level at no cost (Oakland Tribune, 3/31).
According to a Commonwealth Fund analysis, the bill would cost the federal government $154.5 billion in 2007 and reduce overall health care spending by $60.7 billion. The legislation would expand health insurance to 47.8 million residents, according to the analysis (California Healthline, 3/20).