Universal healthcare seems to be back in vogue, with two Congressmen proposing new healthcare bills designed to increase access to affordable care. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) is pitching a program which will be based on the Medicare model. Documents provided by the congressman's office say that the plan will be financed by "using the administrative efficiencies within Medicare and building on the existing coverage people receive through their jobs today." AmeriCare, as it is called, would be open to all citizens and provide additional benefits for children under 24 and people with lower incomes.
Meanwhile, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) is sponsoring the State-Based Health Care Reform Act to finance a $32 billion, 10-year universal healthcare experiment in several states. The pilot programs are flexible and allow states to tackle the healthcare problem using different approaches. An HHS Health Care Reform Task Force would monitor the programs through their development and then make recommendations to Congress based on the results. Expect the healthcare reform to play a big role in the upcoming elections, particularly if Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is picked to run.
PLUS: Blogger Joshua Holland proposes that we can sneak up on universal healthcare by gradually expanding the Medicaid program. Blog