Two federal lawmakers are expected to introduce a comprehensive universal healthcare bill in the House this week that would extend some level of health insurance coverage to the more than 47 million Americans who are currently without it and offer an alternative coverage program to employers and individuals alike.
The bill, called the American Health Benefits Program Act, or AHBP, would create a health insurance option that closely mirrors the 8 million-member Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, requiring private health plans to compete for enrollees by offering up to 40 different plan options, from basic to comprehensiveand all with a component for preventive care.
As the cost of healthcare continues to rise, its burdening our families and placing our American employers at a distinct competitive disadvantage, said Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.), the bills main author and a longtime advocate for universal healthcare. I think we have a really sound solution to fixing the problem.
Under the bill, individuals not enrolled in existing federal programssuch as Medicare, Medicaid or veterans programswould be required to participate in a health plan that meets standards set by the AHBP. While employers would not be required to participate, they would be required to offer health insurance coverage that at least financially matches AHBP plans. The program would be administered by a newly created Health Benefits Administration.
The federal government would contribute up to 75% of premium costs, with the enrollee paying the balance. -- by Matthew DoBias
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