Universal Coverage Receives Support from Insurance Executives Across the Nation
The New York Times on Saturday examined the increased number of insurance executives "pressing for new steps toward" universal health coverage. Many insurance executives, concerned that the increased number of uninsured U.S. residents could "undermine" the nation's health care system, have begun to offer coverage with lower premiums and "slimmer" benefits to attract low-income customers who cannot afford more comprehensive plans. Some insurance executives also have lobbied federal and state lawmakers to pass plans to provide universal health coverage. For example, Dr. William McGuire, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest for-profit insurer, has sent letters to each member of Congress to ask them to approve a plan that would provide "essential health care for all Americans," and executives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana have asked state lawmakers to raise the state cigarette tax to help fund "basic coverage" for Montana residents. Chuck Butler, vice president of BCBSM, said, "If we don't do something in a darn hurry about the uninsured, the whole health care system in this country is going to collapse and the government will step in." In addition, Blue Shield of California CEO Bruce Bodaken last week proposed a plan to provide universal health coverage for California residents (Freudenheim, New York Times, 12/7).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.