Major Hospital Association Supports Health Insurance For All
The tide calling for Universal Health Insurance is rising. Already several States Governors including California, Pennsylvania, and most recently Minnesota are pushing for Universal Coverage. The idea is heating up in the Presidential campaign, as it is the cornerstone of the cost-effective health insurance plan put forth by Senator John Edwards in his bid for the White House. At least one state Senator, Oregon's Ron Wydens is proposing such legislation, and surprisingly the foremost Insurance Industry Organization in the nation, Americas Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has endorsed the idea. And now the Federation of American Hospitals has unveiled a plan, which could provide according to them health insurance coverage for 98% of all Americans.
The plan revealed last month is called "Health Coverage Passport". Under the program those already with health insurance either purchased on their own as private health insurance policies, or obtained as an employee heath benefit, would remain unaffected. But much like the plan recently implemented in Massachusetts and currently being scrutinized nationwide, Health Coverage Passport would require that all Americans obtain health insurance, and would use government subsidies to guarantee that there would be access to inexpensive health coverage for all. The Federation estimates that the Federal price tag would be about 116 billion dollars per year. But it also estimates that State and Local Governments would save almost 14 billion per year over current Federal and State cooperative health insurance programs. FAH said a survey found unilateral support for the plan, with 66 percent of Democratic voters in favor, 57 percent of Republicans, and 55 Percent of Unaffiliated registered voters all in favor of the measures described in the plan.
Federation President Chip Kahn said the plan was designed to "address the flaws in our system that have left so many Americans uninsured without unraveling the private and public coverage that so many Americans depend on today -All Americans can be covered without turning the world upside down, the Health Coverage Passport shows the way." Key to the plan is to expand existing federal affordable health insurance programs such as SCHIP and Medicaid. The idea is to take an "if it isn't broke don't fix it" approach and strengthen and expand these programs that have proven to work. Medicaid eligibility will increase to cover 100% of all Americans making below Federal Poverty Level based on Tax Returns. SCHIP funding would be increased to enroll all children in all States that are currently eligible but not enrolled for the program. The HCP's or Health Coverage Passports, - subsidies or vouchers given to those who qualify to help purchase medical coverage -would be made available to anyone making even as much as 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. For more details on the Federation's proposal log on to http://www.fah.org.