Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who sits on the influential Senate Budget and Finance committees, introduced a healthcare reform bill that he said would guarantee 99% of Americans healthcare coverage equivalent to that now offered to federal employees. Under Wydens Healthy Americans Act, all individuals would be required to buy insurance -- a mandate that over the course of two years would replace the current employer-based insurance system. All employers would contribute up to 25% of the average premium for essential care in their area. New state agencies would provide information about the private insurance plans available to residents and would connect individuals and families with sliding-scale premium reductions. According to the Lewin Group, the plan would cost the federal government $812.9 billion, but that would be offset by about $814 billion in premium revenue, savings to other programs and the elimination of certain business tax credits. Overall, the bill would save $1.48 trillion over 10 years, according to the consulting firm. A Wyden aide said the bill will be referred to the Finance Committee. Read more about the bill on Wydens Web site. -- by Jennifer Lubell
Wyden introduces universal-care bill
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