Vermont Governor Outlines Plan for Universal Health Care Coverage in the United States
Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) last Thursday proposed a three-part plan that would provide universal health coverage for Americans "without a disruptive overhaul" of the U.S. health care system and would require individuals "who can afford it" to cover a larger share of the cost of their health insurance, Reuters Health reports. The plan, which Dean outlined at the annual Princeton Conference, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Council on Health Care Economics and Policy, would require states to provide health coverage to residents ages 22 and younger. In addition, the plan would require the federal government to pay all health costs for seniors dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The plan also would establish a Medicare prescription drug benefit "paid for easily by rolling back the totally unnecessary tax cuts" passed last year, Dean said. Individuals between the ages of 22 and 65 who do not qualify for public health insurance programs could receive coverage through employer-sponsored health plans, with federal subsidies available for small businesses, self-employed workers and part-time workers. The plan, which Dean said "gets very close to solving the problem" of the uninsured, would include copayments and deductibles to "reconnect patients with the cost" of health care. "The reason health care costs are going up as fast as they are is we want everything that can be done for us and for our loved ones and we want someone else to pay the bill," Dean said (Rovner, Reuters Health, 6/7).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.