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May 12, 2004

Keeping Health Insurance Tax Credits on the Table

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Health Care Systems, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 2004;291(18):2255-2256. doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2255

In this issue of THE JOURNAL, the publication of the most recent version of the American Medical Association's (AMA's) proposal1 to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance comes at a good time. In the early stages of the presidential campaign, health care has been identified as a priority issue, and the trends in escalating medical premiums and the increasing proportion of the population that is uninsured are also of concern. The AMA has tried to develop an approach that would make a major contribution to enhancing access in private insurance; it does not pursue the idealistic but probably (given the current political and public finance environment) infeasible goal of universal coverage right now. Even so, by extrapolating past trends on increasing private insurance coverage, it is clear that the proposal will have to address several challenges—some are economic, some are fiscal, and the most serious ones involve politics and policy in a democracy.

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