Insurance Industry Unveils its Health Plan

Millions of Americans think twice about going to the doctor when they are sick because they can not afford it.

About one in six Americans does not have health insurance.

There have been lots of ideas about how to cover those patients.

The insurance industry pitched its plan Monday which would cost taxpayers $300 billion.

Forty-six million Americans have no health insurance; 8 million are children.

The insurance industry says they can all be covered in the next decade.

Jay Gellert, a member of the policy committee for America’s Health Insurance Plans, said, "”If we can empower people to believe that this can be done, that that's the greatest barrier."

Their plan:

  • expand state programs for children and Medicaid to cover more poor families and the "working poor"; people who exceed the poverty level but can't afford insurance.

  • set up "universal health accounts" with the government kicking in up to 50 cents for every dollar a poor family saves

  • A $500 tax credit for low-income families who buy insurance for their kids

  • And $50 billion in grants for states.

    CEO for America’s Health Insurance Plans, Karen Ignagni, stated, "What we are doing is offering a roadmap where we can, in fact, offer affordable coverage and give people opportunities."

    The price tag: $300 billion.

    Insurers have no suggestions on how to pay for the plan but they plan to market it aggressively to the new congress.

    Health care advocates say they're just glad to see the industry get involved.

    Dr. Georges Benjamin of the American Public Health Association commented, “I think what this initiative does is get us off the dime and stop people from saying this is a problem that's not solvable."

    Insurers think it is and so do many Americans.

    And here's some proof of how important many Americans think the topic of health insurance is.

    A poll conducted for the insurance industry found 80% of Americans want congress to do something to make health care more affordable.

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