Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced a bill to establish a national healthcare program funded by income and payroll taxes, saying a single-payer system is the best option for controlling costs while making sure all Americans have access to healthcare. The national system would replace private health insurance, with the exception of supplemental policies. Just last week President Bush, in his State of the Union address, expressed adamant opposition to such a program. Conyers' bill, developed in partnership with Physicians for a National Health Program, Chicago, would provide all citizens with a national health insurance card to obtain medical care and prescription drugs. Only not-for-profit and government-owned providers could participate in the program. In a related development, the Maine Association of Health Plans said the state underestimated by $1 billion to $2 billion the cost of statewide universal coverage under a single-payer plan. A study for the state Legislature had estimated that statewide universal coverage would require new financing of $3.2 billion to $4.9 billion. Read a PDF of the Conyers bill.-- by Jeff Tieman
Bill would create national healthcare system
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