Expanding Health Insurance To Two-Thirds Of Uninsured Residents

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Blue Cross Blue Shield Association officials on Wednesday announced afive-point proposal that seeks to expand health insurance to two-thirds of the47 million U.S.residents who lack coverage, CQ HealthBeat reports. The proposal focuses onprivate and public cooperation; incentives, rather than mandates; andimprovement of the current health insurance system, rather than new forms ofcoverage.

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According to Mary Nell Lehnhard, senior vice president of the Office of Policy and Representation at BCBSA, the proposal seeks torevise the health insurance delivery system, rather than only expand access tocoverage. The proposal would reimburse health care providers based on qualitystandards developed by a third party, help providers and members adopt and useelectronic medical records and establish a national database of the claimsexperiences of 80 million members.

In addition, the proposal recommends actions that the federal and stategovernments should take in conjunction with the plan. The proposal recommendsthe establishment of tax credits, health education programs and a ComparativeEffectiveness Research Institute to determine the cost and viability ofdifferent medical treatments.

BSBSA President and CEO Scott Serota did not disclose the cost of the proposalor possible revenue sources for the tax credits. Serota said, "We believethe best approach is to build upon the current employer-based system -- asystem which is working today" (Cooley, CQ HealthBeat, 1/23).He added, "As much as 30% of the care given today is ineffective,redundant or inappropriate" (Edney, CongressDaily, 1/23).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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