Presidential Candidate Biden Details Health Care Reform Proposal
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) on Tuesday at Des Moines University announced a proposal to expand health insurance to all U.S. residents, the Des Moines Register reports.
The proposal, which Biden said would cost $80 billion to $120 billion annually, would:
- Establish a federal reinsurance pool to reimburse employers, health insurers or associations for 75% of catastrophic health care costs in cases that exceed $50,000 per individual;
- Allow children in families with annual incomes as much as 300% of the federal poverty level to enroll in the State Children's Health Insurance Program and children in higher-income families to pay to participate in the program on a sliding scale (Roos, Des Moines Register, 10/24);
- Eliminate copayments for physical examinations, vaccinations, vision and hearing tests, and preventive dental exams for all children (AP/Boston Herald, 10/23);
- Allow all U.S. residents to purchase health insurance through a program similar to the Federal Employees Benefits Program; and
- Allow residents ages 55 to 64 to pay to participate in Medicare, with a federal subsidy for low-income residents (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 10/23).
According to Biden, the proposal would not require U.S. residents to obtain health insurance. Biden said that he would finance the proposal through the elimination of tax cuts proposed by President Bush and approved by Congress for the wealthiest 1% of U.S. residents and the elimination of other tax cuts. Biden said, "It's time to take charge of our health care system." He called the federal reinsurance pool for catastrophic health care costs the "biggest bang for the buck" and the "thing that is morally most in demand" (Des Moines Register, 10/24). In addition, he said, "Getting this done will require the kind of experience and leadership that comes from years of success corralling bipartisan support for numerous issues," adding, "I have that experience and it will prove invaluable when I am president" (AP/Boston Herald, 10/23). 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.