Universal Health Coverage Bill Introduced in Congress
On Tuesday, Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) proposed legislation that would create a nationwide health insurance plan similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, available to all citizens and documented immigrants, CongressDaily reports.
Under the plan, uninsured residents would be required to enroll in a health plan that meets national standards and would be responsible for up to 28% of premiums. Employers would be required to either offer health insurance to their employees or contribute a payroll assessment of up to $12,000 per employee to finance the government-sponsored health insurance. Individuals' and businesses' contributions would be subsidized on a sliding scale, under the plan.
Shays acknowledged that the employer contribution would be the "dangerous part of the effort" to adopt the bill (Johnson/Posner, CongressDaily, 2/12).
In addition, Shays and Langevin acknowledged that because 2008 is an election year, sweeping changes to health care are unlikely to be realized.
"This proposal introduces a viable concept and leaves room for further discussion," Langevin said (Cooley, CQ HealthBeat, 2/12).