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Tom Allen Proposes Mix Of Public, Private Health Plans

Armen Hareyan's picture

U.S. Rep.Tom Allen (D-Maine) on Wednesday announced a health care proposal that wouldaim to provide health coverage for all U.S. residents using a combinationof public and private plans, the Portland Press Herald reports. Allen is running againstsitting Sen. Susan Collins (R).

The proposal would allow people to keep their existing health insurance orenroll in policies offered by a government-run Healthy Americans program, whichwould be similar to the Federal Employees Health BenefitsProgram. Smallbusinesses that offer health coverage to employees would receive a refundabletax credit. The plan also would provide federal funding to cover "someportion of the cost of catastrophic claims," Allen said. Medicareeligibility would be expanded to include people between ages 55 and 65, as wellas people with disabilities who are younger than age 65. In addition, Medicaidand SCHIP would be expanded to include more children and low-incomeindividuals. Allen said that under the plan, private insurers would have tocompete for business on the basis of cost and quality.

He said, "I think this is a practical way to get universal coverage in acountry where people like choices." Allen said the plan, which would costbetween $75 billion and $100 billion, could be funded by ending the country'sinvolvement in Iraq, which he said costs $12 billion per month; reducingMedicare Advantage plan payments; and allowing the government to negotiatelower prices for the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Carrier, PortlandPress Herald, 5/29).

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