KERRY, HEALTH INSURANCE FOR ALL
Kerry’s Health Plan:Coverage for All (Almost)
plan would insure an additional 27 million American; the Republican plan 2.5 million; Democrat pan costs $650 billion over
10 years; Republican plan $90 Billion over 10 years. Republican plan costs over
10 years $36,000 per person; Democrats plan $24,000. Actually the per additional
person insured is much less, because most of the $650 billion is spent on benefits not related to insuring more people, but
rather lowering costs for everyone through bearing part of the cost carried by insurance companies for catastrophic conditions. To insure more workers, the plan includes tax credits for small companies, for those
workers between jobs, and for those citizens between 55 & 64 who have purchased insurance. The effect of all these parts
of the Democratic plan would reduce for everyone insurance rates by as much as $1,000 per year. The funds for the Democratic plan comes by reinstituting, as it was under Clinton, the graduated tax upon
those earning in excess of $200,000 per year.
Business Week, August 16, 2004. BY LAURA D’ANDREA TYSON
According to a recent survey, more Americans worry about being able to afford health care than about
losing a job or suffering from a terrorist attack. Their anxiety is justified. In the
last three years, the cost of family health insurance has skyrocketed
by over 40%, and 4 million Americans have joined the ranks
of the uninsured.
Eight out of 10 of the uninsured are members of working families.
And having insurance does matter to one’s health. The uninsured receive less preventive care, are diagnosed at more
advanced stages of disease, and once diagnosed, receive less care and suffer higher mortality rates than the insured.
President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry
have different visions about what the government should do to tackle this crisis. According to independent estimates by Emory
University health economist Kenneth E. Thorpe, the Bush plan of limited tax credits for the purchase of health insurance would
cost about $90 billion over 10 years, providing coverage to about 2.5 million more Americans. The Kerry plan would insure
27 million additional Americans, resulting in coverage for 95% of the nation’s citizens and 99% of its children at a
10-year net cost of about $650 billion. Kerry would pay for his health plan by rescinding the Bush tax cuts for those with
incomes in excess of $200,000 a year, restoring their tax rates to the levels that prevailed under President Bill Clinton.
Lest we forget, the ‘90s were years of rising budget surpluses, falling interest rates, high productivity and economic
growth, and record low unemployment.
THE STRENGTH OF KERRY’S health proposals is that they build on America’s existing health-insurance arrangements.
One plan would expand funding for Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which already cover millions
of people. This would extend coverage to more working families who currently earn too much to quali1~ for these programs but
too little to pay for health insurance on their own. Kerry is also proposing refundable tax credits for the purchase of health
insurance by small businesses, workers between jobs, and people from the ages of 55 to 64 who do not have employer-based coverage.
Finally, individuals and businesses would also be able to buy coverage in a national group-insurance scheme modeled on the
Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which currently covers more than a million federal workers. And there is in his package a component which will lower insurance costs for all through the creation of
a government reinsurance program to cover a significant share of the costs of catastrophic claims. Less than one-half of 1% of all insurance claims are responsible for 20% of health-insurance payouts.
Insurers have huge financial incentives to avoid such claims by denying coverage to the seriously ill and those in danger
of becoming so. The limitations imposed by insures on services thus compromises the quality of care given. Current insurance rates reflect both the catastrophic costs and the costs that hospital pass on for the
services they provide for the uninsured. Kerry’s reinsurance program would
reimburse employer and other group health-insurance plans for a substantial portion of the costs associated with such claims.
To be eligible for government reinsurance, businesses would have to offer affordable coverage to all of their workers. Health
economists estimate that Kerry’s reinsurance program would cut health-insurance premiums by as much as $1,000 per year
and make them more stable over time.
Critics of the Kerry plan claim it will simply redistribute income from wealthy Americans to
the uninsured. This redistribution clearly benefits the vast majority of Americans: all those whose tax base is under $200,000 per year.
And even those in the upper tax bracket benefit for the program will reduce premiums by as much as $1,000 a year. Moreover all Americans would have access to the same choice of private health plans
enjoyed by those who work for the federal government, including members of Congress.
As insurance premiums soar, as large numbers
of workers bear the personal cost of job loss, and as an even larger number worry about losing their jobs sometime in the
future, health insurance has emerged as a potent issue that could tip the balance in this year’s Presidential election.
On this critical issue, the candidates offer voters a clear choice. A comparison of their plans demonstrates that one is clearly
superior to the other.
D’Aridrea Tyson, dean of London Business School, chaired the Council of Economic
Advisers from 1993 to 1995 and is an informal adviser to Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry. Edited by JK to improve communication without changing content or meaning.
Page 22, Business Week: August 16, 2004
Of course we couldn't afford universal health insurance like those offered in nearly all the
developed countries--not if it is ran by insurance companies. Nor does business community want it, or in fact anything
but the most minimal public programs, because it is in their interest to have a hungry, desperate, cheap pool of labor, like
The business community did want a tax cut for the wealthy and to do away with the estate
tax, and they got both. The reason we can't afford health care is that the $4.6 trillion surplus has been turned
into a $1.8 deficite with Bush's tax cuts--which go primarily to the rich. Now they will have to cut Social Security
and other public programs.--jk
What emotive meaning do you apply to "politician"???
Politican is another dirty word!
People get the politicians
they deserve, for in office the average person would behave like them.
Politican is another dirty word!