Government-financed universal health insurance would save $1.1 trillion in national healthcare spending from 2006 to 2015 compared with the current system, according to a report for the National Coalition on Health Care, Washington. The study examined three other reform options: requiring employers to provide health insurance, supplemented with mandates on individuals; expanding existing public health insurance programs to more uninsured; and creating a new public program modeled, for example, after the program available to federal employees. Each option would reduce national healthcare spending by more than $300 billion from 2006 to 2015, according to an analysis for the coalition by Emory University healthcare economist Kenneth Thorpe. The group did not endorse one option over the others. Founded in 1990, the coalition includes businesses, consumer groups, labor unions, pension funds, providers and religious organizations.
According to the analysis, universal coverage would require $8.1 trillion in new government spending, financed by savings in the disproportionate-share program and an increase in the payroll tax to 11.5% by 2015 from 9.5%. The full report will be posted on the coalition's Web site Tuesday. Read the press material. -- by Tony Fong