Monday, April 28, 2008

HR 676 Universal Health Care

I have been looking closely at health care reform and related matters for the past two years, and it seems like I learn something new every day. It embarrasses me to admit that just this week I became aware of HR 676 (The United States National Insurance Act) introduced into the House of Representatives by Rep. John Coyers (D-MI) in January 2007. This bill contains all the right provisions for setting up a first-rate universal health care system in this country. Unlike the proposals of the leading presidential candidates that continue the role of private insurance companies, HR 676 basically calls for eliminating them altogether, and turning the health care system into one having the delivery of health care as the first priority. In essence, the proposal calls for a complete conversion to a non-profit health care system.

The proposal has several key features. One is that it provides complete coverage for all medically necessary services including long-term care, prescription drugs, dental care and eye care. Another is that it provides for all United States residents and visitors. The act totally eliminates co-pays and deductibles, and it prohibits for-profit insurers from selling insurance covering services duplicating those provided by the universal health care system. Under this act, patients would have complete freedom of choice in providers, hospitals, clinics, and practices. In recognition that all this cannot happen in one day, the bill calls for a conversion to a not-for-profit health care system to take place over a period of fifteen years.

Financing for the program would be provided by an employer payroll tax of 4.75%, and employee payroll tax of 4.75%, a 5% health tax imposed on the top 5% of income earners and a small tax on stock transactions. The end effect would be a small reduction in overall health care spending.

I don’t see anything wrong with any provision of the bill; in fact it looks to be well thought out. One pleasing thing is that the bill is gaining support in Congress and elsewhere. When first introduced, the bill had 25 co-sponsors, and by April 2008 it had 90. Eighty-nine of these are Democrats, one is an Independent, but none are Republicans. No commentary needed here.

You can read the full text of the bill at:

http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.676:

2 comments:

JaaJoe said...

Did you see the Bunk study stating 2/3 of doctors in America want National Health Care. The doctors who did this study also conducted one in 2002 and found that the majority of doctors did not want national health care, the problem with this is that the 2 question surveys drastically differ in there 2nd question. I found this article, 60% of Physicians Surveyed Oppose Switching to a National Health Care Plan, It's worth a read.

Neil Davis said...

I looked at the cited article. It is always fun to see what phraseology people use when promoting a particular view. But the author is certainly right about how the wording in any given poll can skew the results--often in the direction the polltaker wishes. I experienced that yesterday while participating in panel on health care conducted locally by AARP. Some of the questions we were asked appeared to be trying to guide us toward the responses that AARP wanted to hear.