15 May 2008

Commonwealth's proposal

Commonwealth Fund's principal researchers and president have authored an article for Health Affairs with Lewin Group modeling that shows a path to dramatically improving U.S. healthcare. It seems far superior to the flawed Wyden plan.

Health Affairs has a firewall, but you can see a synopsis of the plan at Commonwealth Fund or at Medical News Today.

Here are the basics, from Medical News:
  • A national entity known as a "connector" that would offer individuals and small businesses a choice of private plans or a Medicare Extra plan.
  • Requiring that all applicants be given health insurance at standardized rates regardless of their health status.
  • Tax credits to make sure premiums are affordable. Premium assistance would be available to all to ensure that premiums do not exceed 5 percent of income and 10 percent of income for higher-income tax filers.
  • Expanding Medicaid and SCHIP to cover all low-income adults and children below 150 percent of the federal poverty level with modest copayments for health care services and no premiums.
  • Requiring that everyone enroll in a health insurance plan-uninsured individuals who file taxes would be automatically enrolled.
  • Requiring employers to either provide health insurance or pay 7 percent of payroll up to $1.25 an hour into a pool to help to finance coverage.
  • Medicare reforms that would extend Medicare Extra benefits to current Medicare beneficiaries, eliminate the two-year waiting period for Medicare for the disabled, and allow adults age 60 or older to buy in to Medicare.

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