An analysis of the Healthy Americans Act shows it is possible to achieve universal healthcare coverage without breaking the bank, said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the bills sponsor, at a news conference.
Assuming that Wydens bill would be enacted in 2012, an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation said the act would be self-financing or budget-neutral in its first year of operation, which is 2014, said Wyden, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. The report estimated that up to $1.4 trillion in health insurance premium costs in 2014 would be offset by revenue and savings from premium payments collected from individuals through their tax returns and other sources, under the act.
In following years, the fiscal outlook would improve, creating future surpluses after 2014, according to the analysis. The bill would provide incentives to buy basic private health plans and make health insurance more portable. People with incomes below the federal poverty level could receive subsidies to buy insurance, and states would be given more flexibility to give consumers more choices in insurance available on the private market.
Wyden, who says hes been in close contact with all of the presidential campaigns, and his aides said the long-term plan is to present the legislation to the new administration next year. -- by Jennifer Lubell