The Health Coverage Coalition for the Uninsured, a self-proclaimed strange bedfellows group of 16 healthcare provider, insurance and advocacy organizations announced proposals today that could potentially cover at least half of the 47 million uninsured children and adults in the U.S. Under the first phase of the program, low-income families would be able to enroll uninsured children in the State Childrens Health Insurance Program and Medicaid at the same time they would apply for other public programs, such as food stamps. States, through grants and other federal funds, could expand Medicaid eligibility to adults and find other approaches to expand coverage.
Low-income children and adults under both of these proposals would be able to get private coverage through refundable, advanceable tax credits. The initiative to cover children would cost $45 billion over five years, but the group had no cost estimates on its proposal to cover adults. The coalition includes groups such as Families USA, Americas Health Insurance Plans, the Catholic Health Association, and national medical and hospital associations. Leaders of these organizations at a news briefing seemed confident that their initiative would appeal to bipartisan interests in Congress, although several employer organizations, including the AFL-CIO, had pulled out of the coalition. Visit www.coalitionfortheuninsured.org to learn more about the coalition. -- by Jennifer Lubell