NU Online News Service, Jan. 22, 2004, 4:52 p.m. EST, Washington – Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., plans to introduce a bill that would require all employers to provide employees with health insurance that offers benefits similar to those provided for federal employees.[@@]
Speaking at a conference sponsored by Washington-based Families USA, a health care advocacy group, Kennedy said that an employer-based system is the most realistic way to achieve the goal of comprehensive and universal health insurance.
Kennedy said that under his bill, no employer would have to spend more than 12% of payroll for employee health insurance.
If health costs rise faster than a fair average of other costs, the government will cover the difference, he said.
“We will protect America’s ability to compete in the world, and we will keep wages and profits from being consumed by health care costs,” Kennedy said.
For individuals without employment-based coverage, he said, coverage will be available through the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program, with premiums based on ability to pay.