Possibility Improves for Universal Health Coverage
The prospects for universal health coverage in the U.S. have "brightened after years of gridlock," with the Democratic takeover of Congress and America's Health Insurance Plans' proposal on health insurance coverage, the Hartford Courant reports.
Many Democrats prior to the midterm elections campaigned on the issue of universal health coverage, and the AHIP proposal, which seeks to extend health insurance to all children within three years and 95% of adults within 10 years, has received some support from consumer advocacy groups. According to some observers, the two developments "could help break the logjam and bring quicker action to address the issue" of universal health coverage, although "there's still much debate ahead," the Courant reports.
Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said, "We're seeing a major difference coming from the insurance industry in relation to cooperation in covering the uninsured," adding, "They were obstructionists in terms of expanding health coverage in years past."
However, he said, "I'm not sure the plan actually achieves universal health care."
Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) criticized the proposal as "self-serving," adding, "I wouldn't trust the industry under any circumstances, except to make a profit for themselves and rake beneficiaries over the coals."
Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of AHIP, called the proposal "a debate opener," adding that the group plans "to work with stakeholders across the political spectrum" (Levick, Hartford Courant, 11/16).