Title

Essential Health Care: Affordable for All?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-2004

Abstract

The number of Americans without health care insurance essentially equals the number of Americans covered by Medicare.Two-thirds of the funds used to pay for the new prescription drug benefit would pay for cost of the proposed plan to provide essential services to the uninsured. The faculty from the Columbia University School of Nursing propose a mandatory insurance plan that is "privately administered, community-based, affordable (in) cost by a broad group of employers or the pub-lic...(in) a risk pool mirroring the general population. The assumption behind normalizing the risk pool is rooted in the fact that many of the uninsured are children or young healthy adults. In addition to providing a base of essential services, the plan includes some thoughtful mechanisms to steer appropriate utilization such as low-cost generic drug benefits, low co-pays for preventative care, and higher co-pays for emergency services. Clearly, the benefits of preventative care and early intervention pale in comparison to the cost of treating acute or chronic illness and promise a much better outcome.

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