Proposal Would Fund Universal Coverage Pilot Programs
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) on Monday announced plans to introduce legislation that will provide funding for states to develop universal health care pilot programs, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Feingold's proposed $32 billion legislation would provide funding for a few selected states to design their own universal health care pilot plans (Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/24).
A federal task force would select which state proposals to fund and would oversee their implementation. Two or three states could participate in the plan, or states could apply in groups, Feingold said.
The bill calls for five-year plans, with an option for another five years. States would have to contribute 25% in matching funds to the program, while the federal government would contribute about 75% of the cost.
Feingold proposes funding the federal portion of the program by:
- Increasing the rebate that drug manufacturers pay to Medicaid, which would yield an estimated $8.3 billion over 10 years;
- Raising airline passenger security fees from $2.50 to $5 for nonstop travelers, which would bring in additional $15.5 billion over 10 years; and
- Extending fees for customs and borders expected to expire in 2014 by two years, for an additional $6.25 billion.