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AmericanHealthPlan.org Blog Launched to Push Plan Allowing Any American to Buy into Medicare
Date:10/14/2008

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new health care blog launched today, AmericanHealthPlan.org, is dedicated to providing high quality and affordable health care by giving all Americans an option to buy into Medicare regardless of age.

Insurance companies argue, like banks have for a decade, that government oversight is unnecessary and that the industry is "more efficient" with less regulation. Reform advocates contend that the turmoil on Wall Street has made it abundantly clear that corporations cannot be counted upon to self regulate and that direct intervention into the health care market -- which is entirely unregulated for cost -- is necessary.

View the blog at: http://www.AmericanHealthPlan.org

The blog was created by America's top consumer advocates at the Campaign for Consumer Rights (CCR), the advocacy and campaign affiliate of the nationally recognized Consumer Watchdog. CCR was formed to protect consumers' interests in the legislative and ballot initiative process.

The approach advocated by the blog -- dubbed the "American Health Plan" -- will:

-- Allow Americans to keep the coverage provided by their employer or buy

coverage from Medicare, regardless of age or income level. Such a policy

will allow Americans to save money on health care since Medicare is far

more efficient than private insurers. For example, Medicare spends just

2% of its budget on overhead, while private insurers take as much as 50%

of monthly premiums for overhead and profit. Competition with a

low-overhead public alternative will force private insurers to prove

that they can be cost-effective while offering similarly comprehensive

coverage. Such a plan should also contain provisions allowing Medicare

to bulk purchase prescription drugs.

-- Immediately help the 14 million Americans who do not receive coverage

from an employer but currently buy individual health insurance policies

on their own. Most are small business owners and entrepreneurs. Others

are early retirees too young for traditional Medicare. As a group they

are hardest hit by price increases and retaliatory practices of

insurance companies including policy "rescissions" which leave

patients without coverage when they are sick and need it most. Such a

program could be later expanded to allow employers to give workers the

option to join the public program or retain coverage provided by

traditional insurance companies.

-- Provide an infusion of younger and healthier Americans into the Medicare

program which will help to provide lower annual costs. Consumer

advocates said that the opening of Medicare would be accompanied by new

regulation of insurance companies barring insurers from refusing to sell

coverage, or charge more for coverage, based on an applicant's

health condition.

According to the Campaign for Consumer Rights, the American Health Plan is necessary because up to half of every dollar spent on health care is wasted on administration, insurance company profits, and overpriced pharmaceuticals. Only by giving all Americans an option to join a public insurance pool that bypasses insurer waste, leverages the nation's buying power, and focuses on preventing illness can the country achieve high quality, affordable health care.

The blog will track the Congressional debate over the next several years on legislation allowing any American regardless of age or income level to join Medicare or a similar public insurer, including:

-- HR 676 (Conyers) - This bill would create a publicly financed, privately

delivered health care system by expanding the Medicare program to all

U.S. residents.

-- HR 1841 (Stark) - Under the AmeriCare Health Care Act, Americans could

choose to receive health coverage from either their employer or through

AmeriCare, a new program modeled on Medicare.

View a recent poll conducted by the Campaign for Consumer Rights weighing California voter support for a range of reforms including the option to join a public insurance pool: http://www.campaignforconsumerrights.org/

The Campaign for Consumer Rights (CCR) is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization which does not take positions on candidate elections.


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SOURCE Campaign for Consumer Rights
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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