Researchers at the Commonwealth Fund say either expanding Medicare or having consumers buy private health coverage through state insurance exchanges could be an efficient way to reduce the number of uninsured Americans.
The researchers have reached that conclusion in analysis of the AmeriCare health finance reform proposal introduced by Rep. Pete Stark, C-Calif., and the Healthy Americans Act, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Stark’s bill would open Medicare to all individuals.
The Wyden bill would shift all group health plan members into the individual health insurance market, then require individuals to buy private health coverage through “state health help agencies” or through other means.
If enacted, the Stark proposal would cost the federal government $154 billion in 2007 but would provide health coverage for most uninsured Americans and reduce overall health spending by $61 billion because of savings on insurance administration and prescription drugs, according to the researchers at the Commonwealth Fund, New York.