Examining Tax Code Changes To Help Expand Health Insurance

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The House Budget Committee on Thursday held a hearing to discuss whether tax code changes could help expand health care coverage to the uninsured, CQ HealthBeat reports.

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In testimony before the committee, Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner and Len Burman of the Urban Instituteboth said that the tax code does not work in favor of lower-income U.S.residents who cannot pay for health insurance. Turner said, "The mostimportant thing is we are beginning to have a conversation over thisissue," and she suggested that advocates from both parties need to findcommon ground to come up with a solution to improve the tax code.

ButBurman and Turner differed on whether public programs like SCHIPprovide a more efficient mechanism for expanding coverage, and on theneed for changes to insurance market rules, according to CQ HealthBeat. Burman also said that currently proposed credits are not big enough to encourage substantial take up.

CommitteeChair John Spratt (D-S.C.) said the hearing helped to demonstrate manyof the complexities of changing the tax code, adding that the likelyresult would be "more hearings" rather than legislative movement(Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 10/18).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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