Kennedy to Propose Legislation Seeking to Cut Costs, Expand Coverage
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) plans to introduce legislation later this spring that would cut medical costs and provide health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans, the Boston Globe reports. Through a series of proposals, Kennedy hopes to put health care reform "back on the table" almost 10 years after President Clinton's efforts to provide universal health insurance for all Americans failed (Wilmsen, Boston Globe, 4/28). One of the first bills Kennedy plans to introduce would require businesses with more than 100 employees to offer their workers health insurance. Employers would have to pay 70% of premiums and would be required to provide benefits at least equivalent to those offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program's "standard option" plan, which is administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The legislation is necessary because uninsured employees working for companies with 100 or more workers account for one-third of all U.S. workers who lack health coverage, according to Kennedy's office (Gatlin, Boston Herald, 4/28). Republicans have "shunned" similar proposals, and the legislation, which would be cosponsored by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), is not expected to "gain much momentum" in the Senate, the Globe reports (Boston Globe, 4/29). Still, some health experts say the bill would likely gain more support than the Clinton administration's earlier proposals because it would focus on larger businesses and would not "overly burde[n]" small companies (Boston Herald, 4/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.