Tax Credit Proposal To Help US Residents Purchase Individual Health Insurance

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Individual Health Insurance

Presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani(R) on Tuesday in Rochester, N.H., plans to announce a proposal thatwould provide U.S. families with tax credits of as much as $15,000 topurchase individual health insurance policies, the Wall Street Journal reports (Harwood, Wall Street Journal, 7/31).

Under the proposal, any "leftover funds could be rolled over year to year for medical expenses," the AP/Boston Globe reports (Elliott, AP/Boston Globe,7/30). The proposal also would provide low-income residents withsubsidies to help purchase individual health insurance policies(Gordon, Long Island Newsday, 7/31).

Giulianidid not estimate the cost of the proposal but said, "I don't think theplan would cost a great deal" or require additional revenue after a"short transition period." However, some observers maintain that"providing substantial assistance to large numbers of people who can'tafford individual policies would be expensive," the Journal reports.

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Accordingto Giuliani, the proposal would increase the number of residents whohave individual health insurance policies to more than 30 million,compared with the current 17 million, a shift that would allow healthinsurers to reduce the prices of such policies (Wall Street Journal,7/31). Giuliani did not estimate the number of uninsured residents thatthe proposal would cover. He said that, rather than implement"socialized medicine," the proposal would address problems with thehealth care system "by relying on American principles, not Cuban andEuropean principles like the Democrats want to do" (Long Island Newsday, 7/31).

Criticism

Presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards(D-N.C.) criticized the proposal. In a statement, he said, "RudyGiuliani's tinkering does not come close to solving the problems of abroken health care system that leaves 45 million uninsured or tens ofmillions facing financial ruin because of inadequate insurance" (AP/Boston Globe, 7/30).

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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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