The number of organizations pushing Congress to address the problem of the uninsured in the coming session grew as both the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Chicago-based Blue Cross Blue Shield Association released plans to increase healthcare coverage.
The ACP urged Congress and the Bush administration to pass legislation guaranteeing access to affordable coverage for all Americans earning up to 150% of the federal poverty level by no later than Jan. 1, 2007.
The college also called for reforms that would halve the time physicians spend on paperwork for third-party payers by 2007 and for policies that would guarantee sufficient numbers of primary-care specialists, particularly in geriatrics.
The Blues association, meanwhile, proposed tax credits for small employers that offer healthcare coverage to low-wage workers and tax credits to help unemployed and lower-income individuals buy insurance.
For workers eligible for but not enrolled in Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the association said states should be encouraged to pay the employee's share of employer-offered coverage. Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine said lawmakers should draft a plan to reach universal coverage in the U.S. by 2010.