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October 6th, 2007, 06:09 PM
The United States National Health Insurance Act,
(Expanded and Improved Medicare For All)

A Brief Summary of The Legislation:
The “United States National Health Insurance Act,” H.R. 676
(“Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Bill”)
*Introduced by Rep. John Conyers

Brief Summary of Legislation

The United States National Health Insurance Act establishes a unique American national universal health insurance program. The bill would create a publicly financed, privately delivered health care system that uses the already existing Medicare program by expanding and improving it to all U.S. residents, and all residents living in U.S. territories. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that all Americans will have access, guaranteed by law, to the highest quality and most cost effective health care services regardless of their employment, income, or health care status. With over 45-75 million uninsured Americans, and another 50 million who are under- insured, the time has come to change our inefficient and costly fragmented non- health care system.

Who is Eligible
Every person living or visiting in the United States and the U.S. Territories would receive a United States National Health Insurance Card and ID number once they enroll at the appropriate location. Social Security numbers may not be used when assigning ID cards.

Health Care Services Covered
This program will cover all medically necessary services, including primary care, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long term care, mental health services, dentistry, eye care, chiropractic, and substance abuse treatment. Patients have their choice of physicians, providers, hospitals, clinics, and practices. No co-pays or deductibles are permissible under this act.

Conversion To A Non-Profit Health Care System
Private health insurers shall be prohibited under this act from selling coverage that duplicates the benefits of the USNHI program. Exceptions to this rule include coverage for cosmetic surgery, and other medically unnecessary treatments. Those who are displaced as the result of the transition to a non- profit health care system are the first to be hired and retrained under this act.

Cost Containment Provisions/ Reimbursement
The National USNHI program will set reimbursement rates annually for physicians, allow for global budgets (annual lump sums for operating expenses) for health care providers; and negotiate prescription drug prices. A “Medicare For All Trust Fund” will be established to ensure a dedicated stream of funding, as well as an annual appropriation to ensure optimal levels of funding for the program.

The conversion to a not-for-profit health care system will take place over a 15 year period, through the sale of U.S. treasury bonds.

HR 676 Would Reduce Overall Health Care Costs

Families Pay Less
A study by nationally recognized economist, Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic Research and Policy concluded that under H.R. 676, a family of three making $40,000 per year would spend approximately $1900 per year for healthcare coverage. Currently, (in 2007) the average annual premium for families covered under an employee health plan is $11,000. (National Coalition on Health Care.)

Business Pays Less
In 2005, without reform, the average employer that offers coverage will contribute $2,600 to health care per employee (for much skimpier benefits), or 217.00 per month. Under HR 676, the average costs to employers for an employee making $30,000 per year will be reduced to $1,425 per year; or about $119.00 per month.

Baker's study reported that HR 676 would reduce health spending in 2005 from $1 trillion, 918 billion dollars to 1 trillion, 861.3 billion dollars, which translates into a saving of $56 billion in overall health care spending while covering all of the uninsured. This is a 3% reduction in over-all health care spending.

Proposed Funding For USNHI Program:
Maintain current federal and state funding for existing health care programs; employer payroll tax of 4.75, an employee payroll tax of 4.75; establish a 5% health tax on the top 5% of income earners; 10% tax on top 1% of wage earners, 1/3rd of 1% stock transaction tax, closing corporate tax loop-holes; repeal the Bush tax cut for the highest income earners.

*For more information, contact Joel Segal or Alexia Smokler, Rep. John Conyers, at 202 225-5126.
Sponsor: Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] (introduced 1/24/2007) Cosponsors (83)
Latest Major Action: 2/2/2007 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.