Legislation To Reduce Uninsured, Allow States To Negotiate Drug Discounts

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Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.),recently introduced two of many bills that are "circulating in advanceof health care hearings Congress is expected to hold this year," the Baltimore Sun reports.

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Cardin has introduced legislation that would require all uninsured U.S. residents to enroll in health plans and require HHSto partner with health insurers to develop three low-cost plans forresidents with annual incomes less than 400% of the federal povertylevel. According to Cardin, the bill would reduce the number ofuninsured residents by two-thirds. Cardin said, "It clearly is not theend of health care reform. It would be the beginning of health carereform" (Hay Brown, Baltimore Sun, 8/3).

VanHollen introduced a bill that would allow states to negotiate discountson prescription drugs for residents with no medication coverage andannual incomes less than 300% of the poverty level (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report,7/30). The legislation "says we're going to trust states," Van Hollensaid, adding, "We don't think that they should have to come to thefederal government and beg for permission to provide better access toaffordable prescription drugs for their people" (Baltimore Sun, 8/3).
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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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