A Democrat has unveiled a bill that would keep the current employer-sponsored health coverage system but create a government insurance program for people without group coverage.
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, has introduced H.R. 1841, the “AmeriCare Health Care Act.”
The bill would require individuals without group coverage to get coverage from AmeriCare, a new program that would resemble Medicare
In a bill summary, Stark says:
Employers with 100 or more employees and no health plan would have to pay 80% of the cost of employees’ AmeriCare coverage.
Smaller employers without plans would pay 20% of the cost of AmeriCare coverage.
The government would pay all or most of out-of-pocket AmeriCare premium costs for children and young adults under age 24, pregnant women, and individuals who earn less than 300% of the federal poverty limit.
The bill also would set standards for supplemental health insurance plans, and it would require the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate discounts for prescription drugs.
The time is right for bold health coverage access proposals, Stark says.
“Employers, unions, consumer groups and presidential candidates are all debating not whether our health care system needs reform, but how it should be improved,” Stark says.
Stark estimates implementing his bill would cost about $154 billion in the first year but save households, government agencies and private employers about $210 billion.