Recent reports showing an increase in the number of uninsured individuals
in the United States have given heightened attention to increasing health
insurance coverage. The American Medical Association (AMA) has proposed a
system of tax credits for the purchase of individually owned health insurance
and enhancements to individual and group health insurance markets as a means
of expanding coverage. Individually owned insurance would enable people to
maintain coverage without disruption to existing patient-physician relationships,
regardless of changes in employers or in work status. The AMA's plan would
empower individuals to choose their health plan and give patients and their
physicians more control over health care choices. Employers could continue
to offer employment-based coverage, but employees would not be limited to
the health plans offered by their employer. With a tax credit large enough
to make coverage affordable and the ability to choose their own coverage,
consumers would dramatically transform the individual and group health insurance
markets. Health insurers would respond to the demands of individual consumers
and be more cautious about increasing premiums. Insurers would also tailor
benefit packages and develop new forms of coverage to better match the preferences
of individuals and families. The AMA supports the development of new health
insurance markets through legislative and regulatory changes to foster a wider
array of high-quality, affordable plans.
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