GlaxoSmithKline CEO Calls for Universal Health Insurance Coverage

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Health insurance coverage

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier said in a speech on Monday that the U.S. government should create a national health care system that provides a certain level of health insurance to all residents, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

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Garnier said such a system, which could be modeled after the recently passed Massachusetts health insurance law, would broaden access to treatment and reduce costs. "Now I am not (recommending) national insurance that pays for everything and anything," Garnier said in his speech. Instead, he said, a national health care system could cover the basic necessities of health care, including catastrophic coverage, and serve as a safety net for the unemployed and uninsured. "[E]ssentially everyone must have insurance; like car insurance, it becomes mandatory," Garnier said.

A national system could be run by private companies and be financed partially by redirecting money spent to pay for the care of uninsured residents seeking emergency treatment from hospitals, he said.

According to the Inquirer, many health care analysts maintain that providing health insurance coverage to uninsured residents who frequent emergency rooms for health care would lower overall costs overtime by ensuring that they receive preventive care from private physicians. "We need [a safety net] if we want to eliminate the tragedy of lack of access and the inefficiencies created by a lack of insurance" Garnier said (Mondics, Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/18).

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