Sen. Max Baucus says the government should set up an “exchange” that consumers could use to buy health coverage on a guaranteed-issue basis.
Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, discusses the proposal in a white paper.
The health insurance exchange would be a “sort of government-administered shopping center where people could go to buy coverage,” Baucus says.
Baucus says he would require everyone who can afford to buy health insurance to buy it, once affordable options were available.
Ending the practice of having the insured pay for care for the uninsured through cost shifting will bring down the cost of coverage and make individual health insurance premiums more affordable, Baucus says.
“Coverage of all Americans will also make reforms work better, from insurance market reforms to a cost-saving focus on preventive care,” Baucus says.
The plan would include help for individuals who cannot afford to buy coverage, Baucus says.
Another lawmaker, Rep. Pete Starks, D-Calif., chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, announced several narrower health finance goals earlier this week.
Stark said he will propose a State Children’s Health Insurance Program expansion measure similar to the bill vetoed by President Bush.