Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) became the latest presidential candidate to unveil a plan to fix the nation's healthcare system. His proposal, with an estimated annual cost of $80 billion, would expand Medicaid to cover children up to 300% of the poverty level and families up to 200% of the poverty level. In addition, the government would establish a funding pool to pay insurers for 75% of the cost of care that exceeds $50,000 for any individual -- a provision intended to hold down premium increases. Kerry's proposal also would require the development of quality and technology standards as a condition of participation in Medicare; close loopholes in federal patent law that allow brand-name pharmaceutical companies to delay the marketing of generic alternatives; and require pharmacy benefits managers to disclose special deals with drugmakers. "My plan strengthens what succeeds now, rewards what's right, helps those who most deserve it, cracks down on those skimming from the top and employs cutting-edge technology," Kerry said in a written statement. Kerry is the fourth Democratic presidential candidate to announce a healthcare reform plan. -- by Tony Fong
Kerry joins the crowd proposing healthcare reform
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