Presidential candidate New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) on Tuesday announced a proposal that would extend health insurance to the 45 million U.S. residents who lack coverage and would not require a tax increase, the Washington Post reports. Under the proposal, all residents would have to obtain health insurance (MacGillis, Washington Post, 8/8). The proposal would:
Allow residents ages 55 to 64 to pay to participate in Medicare, expand Medicaid and SCHIP to include more low-income children and families and allow young adults to continue to receive health insurance through the policies of their parents until age 25;
Provide tax credits on a sliding income scale to help residents purchase health insurance (Glover, AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/7);
Allow residents and small businesses to purchase the same health insurance offered to members of Congress and the president;
Mandate that health insurers no longer can deny coverage to residents with pre-existing medical conditions;
Provide veterans with a "Heroes Health Card" that would expand their access to health care;
Require employers to pay a share of health insurance costs for employees;
Limit interest rates applied to health care costs charged to credit cards;
Allow the federal government to negotiate prices directly with pharmaceutical companies under the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Petroski, Des Moines Register, 8/8);
Establish incentives for preventive care programs; and
Improve health care efficiency though increased use of technology and other measures ( AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/7).
Richardson said that the proposal would cost an estimated $110 billion annually but that savings from the plan would cover the cost ( Washington Post, 8/8).