Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced legislation that would require all Americans to enroll in a healthcare insurance plan. Americans who do not have coverage would have to enroll in a qualified plan such as Medicare, Medicaid, the State Childrens Health Insurance Program, veterans healthcare, federal health employee benefits or other state-approved package.
Today, more than 46 million Americans, including 9 million children, have no healthcare coverage. We all pay the price with either higher premium costs or more expensive medical bills, said Cardin, who is on the Senate Budget Committee. This legislation provides a simple, straight-forward solution that will ensure that all Americans have health insurance.
For those individuals below 400% of the federal poverty level, the bill would offer three low-cost coverage options.
Those who failed to enroll for any coverage for a continuous period greater than 60 days would be taxed, and the funds collected by this tax would then be used to automatically enroll them in a state-approved plan, according to a summary of the bill. The legislation comes on the heels of a proposal released earlier today by Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani to reform the healthcare system through tax breaks and expanding access to health savings accounts. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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