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News of the Day ... In Perspective

1/24/2007

AMA, AAFP endorse plan for uninsured favored by AARP and Families USA

According to PR Newswire, an “unprecedented alliance” of “health care leaders” has announced “historic agreement” on a plan to reduce the number of uninsured.

“It is imperative that all Americans get covered, and by working with this diverse coalition we are taking concrete steps to make it happen,”stated AMA board member Jeremy Lazarus, M.D.

Participants in the Health Care Coalition for the Uninsured (HCCU) include American Association of Retired Persons, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Catholic Health Association, Families USA, Federation of American Hospitals, Healthcare Leadership Council, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, Pfizer, United Health Foundation, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Heritage Foundation worked closely with the coalition, and additional funding was supplied by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others.

The consensus plan was developed after 15 meetings, including work with “experts in conflict resolution.”

The first part of the proposal is to cover children. It would enable “one-stop shopping” with automatic enrollment in SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) when signing up for food stamps, discount lunches, and other welfare programs. There would also be a tax credit for families of four earning less than $60,000 per year. The consensus agreement is available at www.coalitionfortheuninsured.org.

The coalition skirted the question of where to get the $45 billion in funding. Presumably, it would come from tax increases or cuts in other programs.

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