Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced legislation
Wednesday that would launch pilot programs in several states in an effort to
cover more uninsured.
The multistate pilot program could cost up to $40 billion over 10 years and
would be fully paid for through offsets, Feingold announced at a news
conference. At least three to four states would be chosen through a
grant-application program to cover all of their citizens, But the bill doesnt
dictate how they would do it, Feingold said. States would be allowed to figure
out which approaches work best.
The program would be overseen by a special task force that would evaluate the
state applications and make recommendations to Congress at the end of the grant
period regarding which programs should be enacted into law. No companion
legislation has been introduced in the House, although a bill from Rep. Tammy
Baldwin (D-Wis.) has similar objectives.
Feingold commented on another bill by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep.
John Dingell (D-Mich.) that seeks to cover more uninsured by expanding the
Medicare program. I happen to like the kind of approach Sen. Kennedy is talking
about, but the debate up to this point has all been theoretical, he said. The
Feingold-Graham bill finally allows different ideas to compete, and well see
who does best.
The Feingold/Graham bill was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions committee, which Kennedy chairs. -- by href="mailto:[email protected]">Jennifer Lubell
href="mailto:[email protected]">Jennifer Lubell