Health USA: A National Health Program for the United States
Brown, E. Richard
JAMA. 1992 Jan 22/29; 267(4): 552-558.
The Health USA Act of 1991 addresses two fundamental health services financing problems: the more than 30 million uninsured persons and the rising costs for health care and for health insurance. Health USA would provide coverage of the entire resident population for comprehensive medical and preventive health and long-term care services through a universal tax-funded financing system. The federal government would contribute an average of 87% of program costs to each state, which would establish, under federal guidelines, a state health program. Each individual or family may enroll in any health plan approved by the state program, including many private plans, or a plan run by the state program. Through the approved plan of their choice, enrollees would receive covered services and obtain their care from participating physicians and other professional practitioners, hospitals, and other facilities. The state program would pay approved plans a capitation payment for every person enrolled. The plans would pay professional providers fees, as part of an all-payer system of fee schedules and expenditure targets, or capitation payments or salary. Hospitals would be financed through global budgets negotiated by the state program with each hospital. The plan run by the state program would pay the health care costs of any person who does not enroll in an approved plan, making the state plan the payer of last resort and eliminating uncompensated care and cost shifting by providers. Health USA would separate health care coverage from employment, ensuring uninterrupted coverage and eliminating employers' administrative role in providing coverage. Federal and state taxes would replace present methods of financing by private insurance premiums and large out-of-pocket expenditures. Building on the present system of health plans, Health USA would offer all persons a wide choice of competing plans in which to enroll and offer professional providers a wide choice of plans in which to practice. It would control costs by increasing financial accountability of providers and health plans, reducing present reliance on intrusive utilization review and on patient cost sharing. By controlling health care and administrative costs, Health USA would cover the entire population and, according to independent cost estimates, reduce national health expenditures by $11.5 billion in 1991.
Accountability; Community Services; Economics; Employment; Federal Government; Government; Government Financing; Guidelines; Health; Health Care; Health Care Delivery; Health Facilities; Health Insurance; Health Personnel; Health Services; Home Care; Hospitals; Insurance; Legislation; Long-Term Care; Methods; Physicians; Public Policy; Remuneration; Review; State Government; Taxes;
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