Universal healthcare coverage could be achieved in the U.S. by implementing a value-added tax of 3% to 4% on some goods and services, according to a plan unveiled today by the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan research and educational organization. The plan doesn't propose changes to employer-sponsored insurance, but would give employers and employees the added option of enrolling in a pool modeled on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. It also proposes expanding Medicaid to cover all people between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level and increase the federal government's contribution to state Medicaid programs.
All Americans would be expected to enroll in either an employer's health insurance plan, the new insurance pool or Medicaid. Those who don't would pay an income-related assessment to contribute toward the costs of the care they will inevitably need. The plan's authors are Jeanne Lambrew, John Podesta and Teresa Shaw of the Center for American Progress. Details of the plan can be found on the Health Affairs Web site. -- by Ralph Loos