WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -- U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark, D-Calif., this week introduced a universal health coverage bill.
"Employers, unions, consumer groups and presidential candidates are all debating not whether our health care system needs reform, but how it should be improved," Stark said.
Under Stark's plan, called AmeriCare, all Americans would be covered either through their employer, or government insurance modeled on Medicare.
There are an estimated 45 million uninsured individuals in the United States.
AmeriCare would use Medicare's existing administrative infrastructure, but add benefits to provide a prescription drug benefit, mental health parity, pediatric care and family planning and pregnancy-related services.
Financed through contributions from employers, individuals and states, AmeriCare would limit out-of-pocket costs for all and subsidize costs for people with incomes of less than 300 percent of the poverty level.