07 March 2009

HR 676: An Overview.

The United States National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676

Taken from Healthcare-NOW

Introduced by Rep. John Conyers.
Read the full bill.
Read an annotated version of the bill.

Brief Summary of the 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 healthcare 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 healthcare services regardless of their employment, income, or healthcare 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-healthcare 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.

Healthcare 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 Healthcare 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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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 healthcare system will take place over a 15 year period, through the sale of U.S. treasury bonds.

HR 676 Would Reduce Overall Healthcare 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.)

Businesses Pay Less

In 2005, without reform, the average employer that offers coverage was contributing $2,600 to healthcare 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 healthcare spending while covering all of the uninsured. This is a 3% reduction in over-all healthcare spending.

Proposed Funding For HR 676 Program

Maintain current federal and state funding for existing healthcare 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.

List of Congressional Co-Sponsors - 42 as of February 2009.

Rep Abercrombie, Neil [HI-1] - 2/11/2009
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 1/26/2009
Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-28] - 1/26/2009
Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1] - 2/11/2009
Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] - 1/26/2009
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 1/26/2009
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 1/26/2009
Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] - 2/3/2009
Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 1/26/2009
Rep Delahunt, William D. [MA-10] - 1/26/2009
Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 1/26/2009
Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4] - 1/26/2009
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 1/26/2009
Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 1/26/2009
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 1/26/2009
Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] - 2/11/2009
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 2/11/2009
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 1/28/2009
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 1/26/2009
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 1/26/2009
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 1/26/2009
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 2/11/2009
Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 1/26/2009
Rep Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [GA-4] - 2/3/2009
Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 1/26/2009
Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. [MI-13] - 1/26/2009
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] - 1/26/2009
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 1/26/2009
Rep Massa, Eric J. J. [NY-29] - 1/26/2009
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 1/26/2009
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] - 1/26/2009
Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 2/11/2009
Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] - 1/26/2009
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] - 1/26/2009
Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] - 1/26/2009
Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] - 1/26/2009
Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] - 1/28/2009
Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6] - 1/28/2009
Rep Tonko, Paul D. [NY-21] - 1/26/2009
Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] - 1/26/2009
Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 2/11/2009
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 1/26/2009

More Resources

Background Information
Downloadable Document
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Daigoji said...

Great overview!

counterspiNYC said...

Yes, I thought so too, Daigoji. Fairly clear & concise. Plus, we get to see whose got their H-game on & whose dragging their heels. Thanks for visiting!