A national health insurance purchasing exchange would be a viable solution for older Americans not yet eligible for Medicare, a White House official said during a town hall meeting hosted by AARP.
The meeting underscored the struggles of Americans ages 50-64 to get health insurance. Half the calls weve received today were from people of this age group who faced barriers to coverage either because they had a pre-existing condition, or couldnt get coverage through their employer, David Certner, legislative counsel with AARP, informed reporters.
Fielding questions during the teleconference, Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said the Obama administration was working with Congress on a new plan to set up an insurance exchange, which would offer a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan that would allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
DeParle was optimistic about getting healthcare reform legislation done before the end of the year, stressing the importance of preventive care to reduce the number of emergency department visits and keeping costs down.
When asked if people with existing employer-based coverage would be affected, DeParle responded that the goal was to build upon the existing healthcare system. Those satisfied with their current coverage shouldnt be affected at all, except youll see your costs get lower over time.