Utah Senator Stumps for Universal Coverage Measure
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) on Friday at a conference in Utah promoted a bill (S 334) that would detach health insurance from employment, the Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News reports.
According to Bennett, who spoke at the fourth annual Health Disparities Conference hosted by the Multicultural Health Network of Utah, the Healthy Americans Act, sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), would improve health insurance and make coverage more affordable (Bulkeley, Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News, 8/12).
The bill, which would guarantee health insurance to all U.S. residents, would allow private health insurers to provide coverage to individuals directly, rather than through employers. In addition, the legislation would have employers initially shift funds currently used to pay for coverage to employee wages (California Healthline, 5/3). The bill also would provide tax credits to help low-income residents purchase health insurance.
Bennett said that, with the detachment of health insurance from employment, "all of a sudden, (insurers) will clean up their act" because of increased competition. The legislation would lead to "better coverage at a lower cost" and help address health care disparities, he said.
In addition, Bennett said that the bill would lead to increased transparency to allow residents to make more informed health care decisions (Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News, 8/12).