Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) unveiled a plan to extend health insurance to 31 million Americans at a cost of $55 billion per year using a combination of government programs and subsidies. The plan calls for expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, with the federal government footing the bill, and creating a new federal program, called MediKids, to fill in any remaining gaps. Modeled after the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, MediKids would be free for children of families earning up to 185% of the poverty level, while others would be charged on a sliding scale. Adults up to age 25 would be allowed to buy into the program for fees not exceeding 7.5% of their income. A separate program, called MediChoice, would subsidize health insurance premiums for other adults. In addition, Lieberman proposed adopting "sensible" malpractice reforms, encouraging investments in new technology and creating incentives to foster disease-management programs. Earlier this year, Lieberman proposed establishing an "American Center for Cures" to expedite research into treatments for chronic illnesses. -- by Tony Fong
Lieberman offers $55 billion plan to help uninsured
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