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Special Communication
May 12, 2004

Expanding Insurance Coverage Through Tax Credits, Consumer Choice, and Market Enhancements: The American Medical Association Proposal for Health Insurance Reform

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: American Medical Association (Dr Palmisano) and Center for Health Policy Research, American Medical Association, (Drs Emmons and Wozniak), Chicago, Ill.

JAMA. 2004;291(18):2237-2242. doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2237

Recent reports showing an increase in the number of uninsured individuals in the United States have given heightened attention to increasing health insurance coverage. The American Medical Association (AMA) has proposed a system of tax credits for the purchase of individually owned health insurance and enhancements to individual and group health insurance markets as a means of expanding coverage. Individually owned insurance would enable people to maintain coverage without disruption to existing patient-physician relationships, regardless of changes in employers or in work status. The AMA's plan would empower individuals to choose their health plan and give patients and their physicians more control over health care choices. Employers could continue to offer employment-based coverage, but employees would not be limited to the health plans offered by their employer. With a tax credit large enough to make coverage affordable and the ability to choose their own coverage, consumers would dramatically transform the individual and group health insurance markets. Health insurers would respond to the demands of individual consumers and be more cautious about increasing premiums. Insurers would also tailor benefit packages and develop new forms of coverage to better match the preferences of individuals and families. The AMA supports the development of new health insurance markets through legislative and regulatory changes to foster a wider array of high-quality, affordable plans.

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