Insurers Propose Health Care Coverage Expansion
America's Health Insurance Plans on Monday released a proposal that seeks to extend health insurance to all children within three years and to almost all adults within 10 years, the New York Times reports. About 46.6 million U.S. residents lacked health insurance in 2005, a 17% increase from 2000.
Under the proposal:
- Medicaid would cover all adults with annual incomes less than the federal poverty level, currently about $9,800 for an individual and $16,600 for a family of three.
- SCHIP would cover at least all children in families with annual incomes less than 200% of the poverty level; and
- The federal government would provide tax credits of $200 per child, with a maximum of $500 for per family, for families with annual incomes less than 300% of the poverty level that purchase health insurance for children (Pear, New York Times, 11/14).
According to the Los Angeles Times, the proposal, which would cost an estimated $300 billion over 10 years, does not address certain "key elements that would determine whether it is even workable" (Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, 11/14). AHIP did not discuss a plan to finance the proposal, which does not recommend budget reductions or tax increases, or whether the proposal would reduce health care costs (New York Times, 11/14).
In addition, the proposal does not recommend a requirement that employers or individuals purchase health insurance and "fails to deal with the creation of purchasing pools to bargain down the cost of coverage or with reforms to curtail industry practices that exclude people in poor health," the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 11/14).
APM's "Marketplace" on Monday reported on the proposal. The segment includes comments from David Cutler, a health care economist at Harvard University; Ignagni; and Pollack (Palmer, "Marketplace," APM, 11/13). A transcript and audio of the segment are available online. In addition, APM's "Marketplace Morning Report" on Monday reported on the proposal. The segment includes comments from Rowland (Wicai, "Marketplace Morning Report," APM, 11/13).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.