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Capitol Health Call
February 11, 2004

Universal Health Coverage

JAMA. 2004;291(6):684. doi:10.1001/jama.291.6.684-d

In response to Bush's proposals, Sen Edward Kennedy (D, Mass) unveiled a Democratic proposal to provide health insurance to all US residents. The centerpiece of the plan is a bill, the Health Security and Affordability Act, which would require all employers to pay 75% of insurance costs for employees.

In a speech to Families USA, a consumer advocacy group, Kennedy noted that 80% of those without health insurance come from working families. He proposed capping employers' expenses at 12% of their payroll; the federal government pay for any costs above that. Employers now spend a median of 11% of their payroll dollars on health insurance. Individuals without access to employer-subsidized insurance could partake of new government coverage modeled on the health insurance now offered to federal workers.