The National Association of Social Workers proposed a comprehensive national health insurance program yesterday that would cover all the nation's residents for acute and long-term care. It would be run by the state governments under the direction of a federal national health board and financed primarily by federal income taxes and employer-paid payroll taxes.
There would be no out-of-pocket costs for individuals except limited co-payments for doctor visits, prescriptions and long-term care. Services would be provided by existing medical institutions and doctors under fee schedules set by the government or negotiated with doctor groups. The plan would substitute for virtually all current private and government health insurance programs.
At least 31 million Americans have no health insurance, many people carry limited policies, and few Americans have insurance for long-term care. How to deal with the issue could become a major point in the 1992 presidential election, with Democrats likely to push for some form of comprehensive national coverage.
A cost analysis by the Center for Health Policy Studies estimated the association's proposal would raise current nationwide health care outlays from about $653 billion a year to $740.2 billion a year in 1990 dollars in the first year of implementation.