A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House re-introduced a densely packed bill that would effectively end employer-based health insurance coverage, replacing it instead with a system overseen by the government but open to competition from private insurance providers and requiring individuals to buy their own coverage.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) sponsored the House bill, which is companion legislation to the so-called Healthy Americans Act, drafted by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and co-sponsored by eight Republicans and eight Democrats in the Senate. The bill essentially requires employers to convert their workers healthcare premiums into higher salaries, and in turn, requires employees to buy their own health coverage. Insurers would be required to subsidize premiums for those whose income is up to four times the federal poverty level.
At a news conference, Wasserman Schultz decried the current state of healthcare, which she said turns its back on millions of individuals who dont have insurance or who are underinsured. We must create a universal healthcare system in which all Americans have access to quality, affordable healthcare, she said.
So far, 19 members of the House have signed on to the bill. -- by Matthew DoBias