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Health Care For All?

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That’s many people’s dream, and an Oregon Senator is offering a plan that may make it a reality.

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON (AP) â€â€? A dozen years after Congress rejected a Clinton administration plan for universal health care, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is readying a proposal to provide health care coverage to all Americans through a pool of private insurance plans. […]

Wyden’s proposal, which he planned to unveil on Wednesday, is an outgrowth of work by the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group, a 14-member panel that went to 50 communities around the country and heard from 28,000 people about how to reform health care. […]

Wyden said his plan would allow workers to carry their health insurance from job to job without penalty and would cost the federal government no more than it’s paying today for health insurance coverage. It would cover all Americans except those on Medicare or those who receive health care through the military.

So, how do we do it?

Called the “Healthy Americans Act,” the plan would require that employers “cash out” their existing health plans by terminating coverage and paying the amount saved directly to workers as increased wages. Workers then would be required to buy health insurance from a large pool of private plans.

After two years, companies would no longer have to pay the higher wages. Instead, Wyden said, they would pay into an insurance pool, based on annual revenues and the number of full-time workers.

The Lewin Group, a Virginia-based health care consulting firm that reviewed Wyden’s plan, said it would reduce health spending by private employers by nearly three-quarters, and would save $1.4 trillion in total national health care spending over the next decade.

Increases in premium payments for individuals and families would be offset by higher wages and subsidies provided under the plan, the report said. As an example, Wyden cited a worker who earned $60,000 last year, and received about $12,000 worth of health care coverage.

It seems sensible, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.